When Jesus implored His disciples to ask, seek, and knock, He told them (and us) a great deal about what a life of faith looks like.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”–Luke 11:9
What we find below the surface of these words is the humility of fervent prayer, the vigorous activity of seeking after God, and the persistence to overcome any obstacle that is placed between us and God. Sounds a lot different than the self-serving first impression we often associate with this passage doesn’t it? Let’s not accept a shallow, worldly interpretation but the blessed, deep, and rich meaning that Jesus intended. Let’s dig deeper and be blessed for having done so!
We ask God for things through prayer. Prayer is more than the act of asking a question or making a request. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He gave them a model prayer as an example. We know the model well as the Lord’s Prayer. The beginning of the Lord’s prayer is instructive: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done . . .(Matthew 6:9 -10).” By praying to God, we are not asking for what we want, we are asking to know God’s will. Our attitude in prayer should not be self-seeking but God- seeking. Jesus modeled this in His own prayers, most powerfully in His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, by asking “if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will (Matthew 26:39).” At all times, even when facing certain suffering and death, Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done. So must we. The art of prayer involves humbling ourselves and listening for God’s will. Asking the question simply provides the context within which God’s will can be found. It is asking God, “Is this Your will for me?” and then intently listening for the answer.
Seek is an active word. It requires motion. No one can be seeking while remaining still. Seeking after God is much like a game of hide and seek, with one big exception that we’ll get to in a minute. In the game, if the seeker counts to the prescribed number and then sits still, he doesn’t find anyone. When seeking God we must be likewise active and moving. In the game, it takes a lot of trial and error to the other playmates. The seeker must search in a lot of places where no one is hiding, before finding the places where someone is hiding. Seeking God also involves looking in a lot of places where God is not, in order to find the place where God is.
There is one important difference between our hide and seek analogy and seeking after God. In the game, the playmates hide themselves from the seeker. This is not at all so with God. This is an important distinction! Yes, God is hidden from us at times, but He is never hiding from us. What hides God from us is not His desire to be hidden, but our desire to focus on things besides Him and His will. God knows that to remedy this condition, we must often discover first- hand the places He is not and keep moving until we find the place where He is.
There is only one reason we would need to knock while asking for and seeking God’s will – there is a closed door. The message here is that along the way of asking and seeking, there will be obstacles. Our response to these obstacles is to knock. Sometimes what we have asked for, searched for, is God’s will but it is set behind an obstacle. Satan is very interested in keeping you from God’s will so he will place obstacles in the way. We need to be wise to this tactic and not let it deter us. Sometimes the obstacle is of our own making. Our own misunderstanding or misguidance may blur our vision so we can’t see God’s will. Whatever the source, we are to persistently knock on the closed doors that obscure or block us from God. Sometimes the obstacle will seem insurmountable. A closed door may be locked, bolted, and have seven foot-tall, 300 pound guard posted at it. When we face closed doors like this we need to remember Jesus’ carefully chosen words. He didn’t say, “Knock and you will be able to open the door.” He said, “Knock and the door will be opened.” It’s not up to us to open the door, that’s God’s job. Our responsibility is to knock.
Jesus makes a promise in this teaching. Good things, very good things will come to those who actively participate in the asking, seeking, and knocking of faithful living (see Matthew 7:9-11). That’s the truth.
If you humbly ask to know My will in prayer, if you search for Me by actively seeking My will, if you persist when you face obstacles by knocking on closed doors, I promise you this – I will give you every good thing My will contains for you .
That’s the YouTruth. Ask and It Will Be Given to You.
Copyright 2009, 2011 Dan Buckhout