Summary: We must pursue God with all our heart and our prayer: and when we do so we must Ask with humility, Seek with Priority, and Knock with Tenacity
Ask, Seek, Knock: Getting Answers to Prayer
Introduction: Jean McMahon wrote in the Reader's Digest “Attending church in Kentucky, we watched an especially verbal and boisterous child being hurried out, slung under his irate father's arm. No one in the congregation so much as raised an eyebrow – until the child captured everyone's attention by crying out in a charming southern accent, “Y'all pray for me now!” (Jean McMahon - Reader's Digest April 1980)
We sometimes pray out of desperation, don't we? When all other options have been tried we tend to go to God as our last resort.
Ill. What if we were like the 3-year-old boy (that Paul Harvey told about) who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”
Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?”
And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded. And, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.
(SOURCE: Jeff Strite in "The Power Of Persistent Prayer" on www.sermoncentral.com.)
Well You won't receive anything if you don't ever ask. Some people think the more boisterous their voice the more their prayer will get answered. It may hove worked for this little boy but that's not the case for us. This morning we are going to dive into what it takes to get our prayers answered.
Matthew 7:7,8 - “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” For everyone who asks receives; he who seek finds and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Transition: Here we see what we must do to have our prayers answered. We must pursue God with prayer with humility, priority, and tenacity. The first thing we must do to get our prayer answered is to ask with humility.
I. Ask with Humility
“Ask and it will be given you; . . . . For everyone who asks receives . . . .”
When we pray, we must ask. Notice it doesn't say: Demand and it will be given you or Command and it will be given you, or Order or dictate and it will be given you. No. Jesus says “Ask and it will be given you;” We ask God to meet our needs and desires. “ . . . in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6) Be grateful for past mercies when asking God for anything. Do you notice the humility required in asking? If we can not humble ourselves before God to ask, he is not obligated to answer us. In fact the apostle James makes this point “ . . . you do not have because you do not ask God.” Some people think, 'Oh goodie, I'll ask for a Ferrari, or a mansion, or a a million dollars, etc.' James says in the next verse “when you ask, you do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Humility is required when asking God for something. When we ask, we must ask like a beggar asking for money. The beggar is totally dependent upon the generosity of the giver. If He doesn't receive kindness from others he will go hungry. When we ask God for anything, we ask completely depending on his generosity. Like a beggars life is in the hands of other men, our life is in then hands of God, and we know it! If a man can survive off of the kindness of others, how much more can we not only survive but thrive off of the kindness of our God!