THE GOSPELS 59
EVERYONE WHO ASKS RECEIVES
In this passage Jesus says for us to ask, seek and knock…all words that indicate prayer. Contrary to much popular preaching, Jesus is not saying that whatever you ask for you will receive. Nowhere in the New Testament are we promised earthly riches. Earthly riches are the mammon that Jesus warned against when He said, “You cannot serve God and mammon”. The riches promised in the teaching of Jesus are the riches of the spirit…peace, forgiveness, and hope. Such riches are not to be purchased with earthly treasures.
However, in this admonition to ask, knock and seek, Jesus has a much deeper meaning which the serious Bible student will find only after much study and thought. Because of the extreme importance of this, I want to take time to examine the implications before moving on.
Let’s look at the principles of prayer. Prayer is first and foremost a recognition that God is. In Hebrews we are told that one cannot come to God unless he believes that God is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Believing in God is not just recognizing His existence, but also realizing that He is the Creator and is absolute in knowledge, truth and power. Therefore, I am dependent upon Him for life and everything I have been given.
The second principle we need to recognize is that we can pray because He invites us to do so. Approaching the throne room of Heaven is a privilege, and the invitation is issued to us because God loves us beyond our reason or understanding.
The original of this passage actually says, “Keep on asking…keep on seeking”. It does not mean that you have to keep trying to get His attention. It means that in all the activities of life don’t stop praying. In everything, be aware of God’s presence and of His interest in your life and welfare.
The assurance that God always answers our prayers does not mean that He always answers them according to our will and wisdom, but according to His. You are blessed by your prayers, and, even more, God answers your prayers in the wisest and most loving way. He alone is absolute in knowledge and wisdom, and He alone knows the things which are best for us.
In the example Jesus uses here, He points out that if a son asks for bread, the father will not give him a stone. The point is not that the father will give the son what he asks for, but that he will give him nothing that will harm him but only that which is good.
The final word is that God always hears our prayers and that He never ignores them. Instead we will be blessed for coming to Him with our hopes and concerns, and His answer will always be to bless us with whatever is best for us. We are not all-wise. He is. We are not all-loving. He is. Therefore, the answer to every prayer will reflect the highest wisdom and the sincerest love in our lives, no matter what we ask for. Paul said, “Pray without ceasing”, and Jesus said, “Keep on praying”.