The Prayer of Petition
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
This week we learned about the importance of persistent prayer and how God wants us to ask Him for things. He is eager to listen and loves to give good gifts to His children. As I was reflecting on Matthew 7:7-8, a memory came to my mind.
I remember a few years back, a time when one of my daughters was in high school. Walking outside of her room, I overheard a conversation filled with excitement. All of her giggles and exclamations had my attention. I walked into her room to see what the commotion was all about. She was busy making plans for the weekend. In her mind she had the whole thing mapped out; where she was going, how she was getting there and who she was would go with. She couldn’t WAIT for this night, as it was going to be “THE best night" of her Junior year. She was busy sifting through her closet for the right outfit and making her plans. As she got off the phone with her friend, she started to fill me in with all the details. All of the sudden it dawned on her, ”Oh wait... I forget to ask you if I could go. It’s okay, right? Everyone, I mean EVERYONE is going.” I sat back and listened, knowing there was no way I would let her go. My silence drew her close. “Mom, it’s okay, right? I mean if I didn’t go I literally would be the only one who wouldn't be there.” A sympathetic smile came across my face. Everything inside of me wanted to let her go but deep down inside of me, I knew it wasn’t the best for her.
I am sure you can relate to those moments when you were "the worst parent ever”. As I stood firm in my decision, she continued to beg in hopes to change my mind. Whether it was tears or sweet talking, she tried everything to convince me. Nothing she would say could change my mind. I loved her too much to let her go. I knew more than she did. I was older and I was wiser. I have lived long enough to know about the concerns of this broken world. I was fully aware of what could happen when someone is placed in what I like to call, Temptation Island. Looking through the eyes of my daughter, she did nothing wrong. She was innocent, excited to be included in a fun night with a ton of people. What could be wrong with her plan? As her sadness moved to anger, soon she wondered … “Don’t you trust me? What have I done wrong? I am a good kid!” The begging continued. Then I gave her the reasoning behind my decision, “I wouldn’t be a good mom if I let you go.”
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16.9
As I look back on my own life, there are countless prayers I have prayed when my plans were already set. I wasn’t praying to ask Him what He thought. I was looking for him to bless the plans I already made. When my will didn’t match His, I would get frustrated. I would question His character or question His love for me. I could only see what was in front of me, unable to see the overall picture. God’s time is not the same as ours. He stands in yesterday, today and eternity at the very same time. His viewpoint is eternal, He sees it all.
So what can we glean from this lesson on persistent prayer? First is to remember His character; God is good, He is always good. He is our Father, seated in the heavenly realm. We need to come to Him with a humble heart, knowing He holds all things. Our Father cares most about our hearts and relationship with Him. Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways your ways; declares the Lord. As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to trust His will and plan.
Persistent prayer is important and biblical. We are to come to Him each and every time with our concerns and desires. As we approach Him, remember these things… “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
Ask: present our requests to God. When we ask God, we need to come with open hands. Even though we have dreams and desires, we need to come to Him knowing He knows what is best.
Seek: What are you seeking? For Him to bless your plan? Or are you spending time reading God’s word and seeking His will? Seeking is active, spending time looking and listening to God is key.
Knock: I think the best question to ask is; what are you looking for? Are you looking for Him to affirm what you already planned? Or are you seeking (looking) for HIS answer?
The key to persistent prayer isn’t that God will finally hear us . The purpose in the process of asking, seeking and knocking, is that we will commune with Him and finally hear HIM. Do you see... in the asking, seeking and knocking… it draws us closer to Jesus? As God sits on His throne, looking through an eternal lens, He may not give us what we want but He will give us what we need.