Summary: A message on prayer based on one of Jesus' prayers, Matthew 7:7-11.
This morning I would like to talk to you about prayer. To do this we are going straight to the source, we are going to look at one of Jesus’ teachings. Our scripture this morning is Matthew 7:7-11. These verses are part of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.
"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, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10"Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 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 what is good to those who ask Him!”
To start with we need to look at who Jesus is speaking to. Lets turn back a couple of chapters and look at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount,
Matthew 5:1-2 tells us
‘When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them’
This is telling us that Jesus’ primary audience was His disciples, it is unclear if the text is referring to only the 12 or to a larger group of followers. But, we can safely say that this message was meant for believers. So as we dig into these verses let’s keep in mind who Jesus is talking to.
Starting with verses 7 and 8.
“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.”
The first thing we need to do is ASK!
James 4:2 tells us “2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
We need to come before the Lord and present our request to Him. I am pretty sure this is something that most of us have down pat. When we have a problem, what do we do, we pray. But this is only the beginning, the first step.
As we look at Matthew 7:7-8 we see some repetition.
Verse 7 says to Ask, Seek, and Knock and verse 8 also says Ask, Seek, and Knock.
Do you think Jesus is trying to tell us something?
I do, Jesus is not telling us to pray one time than forget it, He is saying that we need to continually come before Him in prayer.
We need regularly Ask Him to meet our needs.
We need to seek out His will for our lives and His will for meeting our needs,
We need to relentlessly and continually Knock at His door, over and over again.
Essentially Jesus is telling us that prayer needs to be a focal point of our lives. Not something we do only when we have problems, or once a week, or while we are at church.
Prayer needs to be something we do all the time.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing”
Make prayer a regular part of your life. We need to spend time in prayer each day earnestly seeking the Lords will.
Bill Hybels tells about an interesting experience after a baptism service in their church. He writes: "I bumped into a woman in the stairwell who was crying. I thought this was a little odd, since the service was so joyful. I asked her if she was all right. She said, 'No, I'm struggling.' She said, 'My mom was baptized today. I prayed for her every day for almost 20 years. The reason I'm crying is because I came this close to giving up on her. At the 5-year mark I said, "Who needs this? God isn't listening." At the 10-year mark I said, "Why am I wasting my breath?" At the 15-year mark I said, "This is absurd." At the 19-year mark I said, "I'm just a fool." But I just kept trying, kept praying. Even with weak faith I kept praying. Then she gave here life to Christ, and she was baptized today. I will never doubt the power of prayer again."
Sometimes when we pray and pray we feel like we are experiencing the law of diminished returns—so we stop praying. We correspondingly diminish our desires and dreams. We stop believing that God cares and that he will act—that he is indeed a God who wants us to ask. I hope that you will trust God's love and concern for you, and his ability as well. I hope that you will continue to be persistent in prayer, no matter how discouraging the circumstances seem.