“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8, NAS
Verse seven and eight in Matthew chapter seven tell us that if we ask, we will receive and if we seek, we will find. This is faith empowering for all of us, but oftentimes we must remember that prayers are not answered in the way we expect. In fact, sometimes God says, “no” instead of “yes”. So, how can this fact mesh up with these verses?
First off, these verses tell us that when we ask we will be given something, but this passage is not specific about what we will be given. We are to ask, but then trust God with the giving. We may be praying for a certain opportunity, but God opens another door of opportunity that we never even thought to ask about. Was it specifically what we had in mind? No, but we did receive an opportunity.
I think about our kids’ Christmas lists some years. They put things on that list that my husband and I both know is simply a whim. They just saw a commercial about it, thought it would be neat, so BOOM! on the list it goes. As loving parents, we remember their interests throughout the year. We remember their hearts’ desires. We remember how it was to be a kid, get caught up in the moment and forget what we really wanted.
God must look at our prayer lists that way sometimes. A spur of the moment idea is easily deciphered from our true hearts’ desire with Him. He hears the longings in our souls that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26). He knows what is best for us long-term and answers accordingly. God can be trusted to give the very best for us when we ask.
Secondly, the book of Matthew tells us to “seek and you shall find.” We must ask ourselves the question, ‘What am I seeking?’ Are we seeking God’s direction? When we do, we will find it according to Isaiah 30:20b-21. Are we seeking God Himself? If we are, we will find Him according to Isaiah 30:19b. In fact, Isaiah 65:24 says, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking I will hear.” I love that verse! We are assured that God loves to answer us. He is not playing hide and seek. He is desirous of a relationship with us. When we seek, we will find.
Thirdly, when we knock, the Word tells us that “it shall be opened”. I have to think about the many times that I have visited a friend, or acquaintance for the first time. I go to the front door and knock, but no one answers. I knock and knock and wonder what is going on because I know that they know I am coming over. All at once I hear a distant voice yelling for me to come around to the back door. So, I do. I was knocking and the door was opened, but it was at a different place than what I was originally expecting.
Are you starting to see? God always answers, but often times we are looking in the wrong direction. When we are looking up to Him instead of in the direction we expect the answer to come, that problem fades away.
So, I’m asking you to place all expectations to the side as you pray this week. Ask, seek and knock, but then listen for the answer He has. Don’t listen for the only way you expect Him to fulfill your request. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to be able to see His answer.