“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”—Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV).
Matthew 7:7-8 is often misinterpreted. Many who read this scripture believe God will give them anything they ask for, because, after all, He is God. But He’s not a genie in a magic lamp we can rub, thinking we’ll get our wishes answered.
The next three verses further clarify the meaning of the previous verses. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:9-11).
The defining words in the rest of the above passage are “good gifts.” Is Jesus referring to a wrapped birthday or Christmas gift? No, God’s gifts don’t come wrapped in fancy paper. But James 1:17 tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
A Child’s Viewpoint
As children we were excited about our birthdays and Christmas, eager to unwrap a gaily decorated package. We anticipated the contents as something we had requested. Most of the time we received what we asked for, but not always. Our parents or other relative may not have had the money to purchase what we wanted. Or, maybe, they thought it was something we really didn’t need for whatever reason.
As young children, we might have been disappointed after opening a gift. Think about the times we opened a box and it contained clothing. I’ve seen funny videos on television and laughed at a child’s disappointed reaction to a gift of clothes.
But, as we mature in Christ, shouldn’t we seek God in prayer and ask for His will to be done in our lives? Situations we can’t solve on our own because we’re not humanly capable must be presented to God in prayer.
Seeking God in Prayer
When I first began my walk with Jesus, I prayed for things that deep down I knew weren’t good for me. Ignoring red flags concerning relationships, I was heartbroken when things didn’t work out. Looking back, I’m grateful He didn’t answer those prayers.
Our Heavenly Father knows best. He knows what we need in our lives. Our number one priority should be a deepening relationship with Him through studying His Holy Word and through daily prayer. It’s what we need. It’s what He wants.
I recall a time when I needed to forgive a family member for hurting me. I thought I’d forgiven this person, but each time I was around her, old feelings of hurt and anger resurfaced. Several years passed and I dropped to my knees beside my bed one morning after Bible study. I cried out to God, “Help me. Lord, I can’t do this on my own.”
We Can’t Do Life on Our Own
Fully surrendering to Christ helps us to realize we can’t do life on our own. Looking back helps us to see how far we’ve come since we first began our walk. Jesus encourages us to ask, seek, and knock.
In an O.S. Hawkins devotional, he writes, “Prayer is effective when it is aligned with God’s will for our lives. If we know His will in a matter, we ask according to His will. If we do not know God’s will, we are to seek to know it. If we know God’s will but the answer has not come, we are to knock until the door opens.”
Two-way communication is the answer to knowing God’s will. He speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to Him through prayer. If we seek Him, the door will open.