Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Within this command to pray I think we can see five general principles about prayer.

“Ask, … Seek … And Knock”

Matt 7:7-11

There is nothing that reveals more about a believer than his or her prayer life. How that individual approaches God and what that individual is willing to ask for reveals how he or she views God. We frame our requests in accordance with what we know of the character of the one we are addressing. It is very similar to how an child will make a request from their father. The child with a kind, gentle and firm father, does not fear to ask anything, for deep down they have the assurance that the father has greater wisdom and experience, and therefore would not give them anything that would be harmful to them. The child with extravagant but uncaring father will with arrogance lay down his demand knowing his every desire will be met. The child with the stingy, ill-tempered, abusive father will seldom dare to ask for anything, fearing yet another emotional explosion.

This is also true spiritually. When we pray we pray in harmony with the view of God we have. I thinks sometimes or view of God can be influenced by the kind of earthly father we have had. An individual that believes God is arbitrary, will be fearful and on guard. The individual who believes that God is vengeful will be fearful. But the individual who believes that God is gracious will come boldly.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (9) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (10) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? (11) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

All three verbs in verse seven, Ask, Seek, Knock are imperatives (commands).There are two basic kinds of imperatives in the New Testament. There is the aorist imperative which is a command to do a particular thing at one specific time, and there is the present imperative which is a command not only to do something but to keep on doing it indefinitely. All three verbs in verse seven, Ask, Seek, Knock are not only imperatives (commands) but they are present tense imperatives. We are told to ask and keep on asking, we are to seek and keep on seeking and we are to knock and keep on knocking.

There is also within this verse a suggested progression in prayer. The very words; ask, seek and knock seem to suggest an ever increasing intensity in prayer.

1.Asking. There are some things that are

the need is so clear that we mere must ask for them.

2.Seeking. Seeking is a deeper level of

prayer than just asking. Sometimes we may doubt or be in darkness and we need to first seek God’s will before we know what to pray for. But God has made provision for us even in such times for we read in Romans 8:26-27 we read, “… the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

3. Knocking. The knocking here denotes seeking entrance, or desiring fellowship.

Within this command to pray I think we can see five general principles about prayer.

1. God Does Not Promise to Answer Everyone’s Prayers.

The there is a restriction to the promises given in these verses. The promises apply only to those who are really God’s children.

Some would say, “But isn’t God the Father of all humans?” And the answer is, “No he is not!” And he is not obligated to answer the prayers of those who are not his children. I realize of course that is pretty narrow statement, in fact a former head of the Southern Baptist Convention once stirred up a big conflict over his statement that God is not obligated to answer the prayers of unbelievers. But he was right! God is not the Father of all men, God is the Creator of all men, but that is not the same. God is Father only to those who are born again into the family of God.

God Does Not Promise to Answer Everyone’s Prayers….

2. We Are Expected To Ask for the Things God Has Promised. “ask and it shall be given.”

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