Ask and it shall be given to you … (Mt 7:7)
Previously in His Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught His disciples how to pray (Mt 6:5-15). In chapter 7 He reminds us once again to petition our Father in prayer. Jesus is in the midst of teaching how to be discerning as to when and whom we should speak or remain silent, when He enjoins His disciples to ask, seek and knock. While the imperatives are three, the command is really an intensified single one – that we seek God our Father for good things, including wisdom and discernment. This ought to be a regular part of our Christian walk as disciples.
People can be reticent when it comes to petitioning God for something. Some see God as too holy or distant to care about their paltry personal needs. Others simply do not believe God answers prayer at all. Still others feel that asking something of God is a lower form of communication when compared to praise and worship. But the teaching of the entire Bible makes it clear that God wants His children to petition Him. Prayer is not dictating to God what He should do, but it is a humble and heartfelt expression of our attitude of dependency and need. Though He is sovereign, God chooses to extend an invitation for us to participate in accomplishing His will in the world through prayer. In so doing He displays both His loving care for us personally as well as our utter dependence upon Him.
This three-fold command to ask, seek, and knock, is short and simple, but what is most magnificent is the manifold response of God our Father to our asking. The main point that Jesus is teaching in this section is that God is a good and gracious Father who readily answers our prayers. Jesus could not make it any easier for us – He promises us a fruitful audience with our omnipotent Father. “Everyone who asks receives” (7:8). Prayer is a privilege reserved for God’s children that unfortunately many neglect. Given this magnificent invitation by the sovereign of all to come to Him and ask for good things, it is incomprehensible that we so regularly turn away in favor or frivolous activities. We carry around burdens; we are anxious; we lose sleep as we mull over our earthly cares; we forfeit our peace; and all the while God promises to give good things to those who ask Him! Isn’t it about time that we believe the promise of God and ask Him? He will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jer 33:3).