Ask, Seek, Knock

“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.

“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 7:7-11

These verses emphasize prayer and our relationship with God. Notice the present imperatives in verse 7: ask, seek and knock; as present tense imperatives, they are commands that demand a persistent action. They are found next to the passive “will be given” and “will be opened” that anticipate God’s response. Verse 8 provides a balance in which the present participles “asks, seeks, knocks” are balanced with three verbs, “receives, finds, and opened”which demonstrates God’s responsiveness to the persistence we show in seeking His presence. If you stop and think about this, Jesus is telling us something wonderful here: Not only is it possible for us to enter into God’s presence, but God is expecting us to seek Him out, as though He might see us there and say something like, “Well there you are, welcome!”

Verses 9-11 amplify this with the example of a human parent who will do what is beneficial for their child, using the simple logic that if a fallen and imperfect human will see to the needs of a child, God, who is neither fallen nor imperfect, can be trusted to bless His children to the fullest extent.

When I was a child, my impression of God was of a God who was inapproachable, and everything I saw in church reinforced that notion. There was a great deal of bowing and kneeling going on, the preacher never prayed in any manner that seemed “normal” to me, it always seemed like he was afraid, saying things like “our gracious and most merciful Father” at the beginning of a prayer as though he was afraid of being struck dead at his audacity to even address an Almighty God who was never pleased by anything. Even as a little kid, I wasn’t especially fond of this God; He was just too scary!

I don’t know about you, but I am sure glad that this is not the kind of God Jesus is telling us about here!

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