Have you ever been tempted to give up praying for someone or something? You had spent all this time and effort hoping and praying and it just seems as if God has put you on hold, so to speak. When we work through the Scriptures and drink in deep the living spring that is God’s Word, what we find is that our God never outsources our prayers to people beneath Him who are unaware of what’s going on and can only stick to a script.
God does not pretend to hear our concerns or treat us as mad individuals when we recollect our concerns unto Him. Rather, our God is a good Father to whom we can look up to and desire to be like. It is no wonder then that when Christ speaks He says it is to this prayer-hearing God that we must be persistent in our prayers. That we must do three things: ask, seek, knock.
If we looked upon the greater context surrounding our passage we would see that this “asking,” “seeking,” and “knocking,” (Matt. 7:7) all have to deal with the main theme of prayer and trust in God. Jesus promises His disciples alone (including those who call on Him today) that “everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:8 ESV) Nevertheless, Jesus is not promising that God will function as a genie to each and every one of our selfish desires. What do I mean? How many of us as soon as we work up the effort to pray, we begin with ourselves? Often, we fail not only to think of others first, but we even forget to adore God and His greatness as our Father.
As mentioned before, how many of us have felt “let down” by God. We’ve prayed for something and it wasn’t answered in the way we desired it. What do you do when that happens? Do you curse God? Blame God? Find yourself furious at Him?
As humans we are prone to harden our hearts, a truth which Jesus knows all too well as the eternal Son of God. Yet, isn’t it good to know that regardless of what sin we present to Christ, it can never surprise the One who knows all things, nor can it cause Him to flee from us? Is it not His very nail-pierced hands of grace which seek to pluck the thorns from our hearts? And our hearts are rather thorny.
Jesus proclaims this unpopular truth to His disciples then and today: “you are evil” today (Matt. 7:11 ESV). By nature, we are self-centered, not God-centered. Even the most altruistic, kind-hearted good Samaritan, gives honor and glory to creation rather than the Creator. What is the solution then? We must abandon our self-worshiping ways and worship the true God. As Luke makes clear, “the heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 ESV)
The Holy Spirit causes our new spiritual birth, not us by our own will. The Holy Spirit takes Christ’s work and applies it as a healing ointment to our very hearts. The Holy Spirit conforms us into the image of Christ by renewing our minds by the Scriptures. In other words, it is the entirety of the Christian life which is found in the work of the Spirit.
Where do you need more of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life? We cannot live this Christian life by ourselves; a prayerless Christian is a dead Christian. We are all in greater need of the work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot give up, we must seek God to help us as Christians to love the unlovely, to speak truth to the liars, and to give care to the broken-hearted. We must be mended from top to bottom, and it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that we can achieve such ends. Will you seek His work within you today? Will you take up His Word and read (2 Peter 1:21)? Will your life be a prayer-full place, where an expectant heart trusts in Jesus, asks for all He needs and sees His hand move? Will you ask, seek, and knock?
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