Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. [Matthew 7:7-8 GNT]
In absentia of other verses on prayer, this passage paints a binary image of prayer.
One can read a cause and effect principle in these sentences.
We pray and God gives us what we want.
Like most things that are seen in black and white, that explanation comes up short.
It imagines God to be a benevolent Santa Clause and we as greedy children.
I think that the passage better understood in light of the Lord's prayer.
In that model prayer Jesus teaches us to ask for God's will to be done.
There Jesus teaches us that the focus of prayer is asking for His kingdom to come.
In this paradigm there is no room for selfish and greedy requests.
In contrast, Jesus teach us to pray simply, asking God to meet our needs.
He speaks to us of our need to forgive and to be forgiven.
In that short model prayer, the Lord is helping us to see the purpose of prayer.
In that light, perhaps our prayers should be more about:
- asking to receive understanding;
- seeking to discover the will of God;
- knocking that the eyes of our hearts might be opened.
Prayer is all about getting to know God better.
In doing so we are transformed into the image of his Son.
Lord, help me to pray in a way that I might be transformed.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.