Summary: Since God loves us so much, we can expect that He will answer our prayers.
A Messiah of Expectation
Text: Matt. 7:7-11
1. Illustration: When I was a little boy, my Mom worked as a nurse at St. Thomas hospital in Akron. She was the head nurse in the nursery on second shift for 25 years. Of course because she worked second shift she wasn’t able to be there when I got home from school like other kids mom’s were, and I think because of this she felt a little guilty. As a result, she would frequently go down to gift shop on her break and get me my favorite candy bar - a Nestle’s Crunch Bar. She did it to show me that even though she couldn’t be there when I got home from school she loved me and did what she did to make a better life for me. I could expect my Mom to bring me home a Nestle’s Crunch Bar because she loved me so much.
2. If we can expect that our earthly parents will do things for us because they love us, how much more can we expect the Father to answer our prayers because He loves us?
3. Jesus teaches us about expectation in prayer by:
a. Persevering In Prayer
b. Trusting In Prayer
4. Read Matt. 7:7-11
Proposition: Since God loves us so much, we can expect that He will answer our prayers.
Transition: Jesus teaches us about...
I. Persevering In Prayer (7-8)
A. Keep On...
1. What is persevering in prayer? Jesus says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."
a. It is asking, seeking, and knocking until the answer is received, found, or opened.
b. It is being so obsessed with getting something that a person never gives up until God responds.
c. The words ask, seek, and knock are in the present tense.
d. A person is to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. He is to persist in prayer.
2. Although some see the present imperatives "ask, seek, knock" as practically equivalent, it seems better to suggest that Jesus is indicating a rising scale of intensity in one’s prayers and points to the persistent manner of life lived before the Father (Wilkins, 312).
a. First you ask for what you need.
b. If that doesn’t work, then you seek God for what you need.
c. If that doesn’t work, you knock on every door.
d. However, all three are to be done persistently until the answer is received.
3. True prayer is persevering prayer. God expects all of our prayers to be persevering. When we sense a real need to pray, we not only ask, but we seek and knock.
a. "Ask" indicates coming to God with humility and consciousness of need, as a child fittingly comes to her father.
b. "Seek" links one’s prayer with responsible activity in pursuing God’s will, as when a person prays for a job and at the same time checks out leads.
4. Knocking contains two ideas.
a. First, we approach every door that we can until the right door opens.
b. We certainly would not pound and pound away at the same door. We must move about knocking until the right door is opened.
c. Second, we must continue knocking at the door of heaven.
d. We must wrestle with God, not giving Him rest until He opens. Such action shows dependency upon Him.
e. Our coming to Him in fellowship and communication is bound to please Him, just as such communication pleases an earthly father.
f. Revelation 3:20 (NLT)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
5. Look what Jesus promises to those who do these things: "For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
a. This verse essentially repeats verse 7, but with the emphasis upon the certainty of God’s answer (Horton, 129).
b. The Greek participles used in this verse also draw attention to the continuing action of the believer.
6. Prayer is conditional. Christ is pointed: if we ask, we receive.
a. If we do not ask, we do not receive.
b. If we seek, we find. If we do not seek, we do not find.
c. If we knock, it is opened to us. If we do not knock, it is not opened to us.
7. It would be an insult to to knock once at someone’s door and then leave.
a. The very word "seek" means to keep on searching dilegently.
b. To ask once and then cease asking is not an evidence of faith and trust in God.