Summary: While keeping the famous "Ask, Seek, & Knock" passage in context with the Sermon on the Mount, we can still learn some awesome principles regarding prayer.
ILLUSTRATION: PRAYER’S BEST POSITION
Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background.
One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship.
The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees.
The third suggested that they both had it wrong--the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.
By this time the phone man couldn’t stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected, "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended forty feet above the ground." That’s prayer!
A. TEXT: MATTHEW 7:7-12
Our subject is one I could skip - it’s so easy to understand!
1. In Fact, WE COULD RECITE IT
"Ask" … "Seek" … "Knock" … "For everyone" …
2. A Subject WE ALL UNDERSTAND
a. The Bible says, ’Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’.
b. THEREFORE all we have to do is ask for it WITH faith and persistence, and WE WILL RECEIVE IT.
c. And when we DON’T HAVE, we know it’s because we haven’t asked
After all, James says ’You do not have because YOU DO NOT ASK’ James 4.2)
d. So go for it! NAME IT AND CLAIM IT!
If you DON’T receive it, (it’s NOT b/cause we may be taking the scripture out of context) - NO - IT’S BECAUSE OF SIN!
e. We treat God as a CELESTIAL SLOT MACHINE - just pull the handle enough times in prayer, and you will get what you want.
B. PRAYER IS A HARD SUBJECT TO UNDERSTAND
a. Understanding Prayer BEGINS with Honesty!
- Unanswered Prayer
- Confusion on HOW to PRAY - WHEN - WHERE - WHAT CONDITIONS
- Maybe even - What to ask for?
C. SOME PRINCIPLES ON PRAYER
While we must be cautious NOT to take this passage out of context with the Sermon on the Mount, there are some key principles surrounding prayer that we can pull from this passage.
a. Recap what has happened - especially 7:1-6)
b. 3 OBSERVATIONS I would Like To Point Out for You to Consider Today
I. BE PERSISTENT (7-8)
Jesus begins to close the sermon by CALLING ON THE DISCIPLES TO "BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER"
READ VERSE 7
A. 3 COMMANDS that Require PERSISTENCE
You could literally say "KEEP ON asking, KEEP ON seeking, and KEEP ON knocking"
1. "ASK" - GRK to ’ask, beg for, call for, desire or require’ -
BUT - Jesus Gave Some Earlier Conditions
a. In Agreement with God’s Will For Your Life
Matthew 6:8 (NIV)
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
b. Must Bring Glory to God
Matthew 6:9-10 (NIV)
9 "’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
John 14:13-14 (NIV)
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
c. The Right Motive
1. All of the Sermon on the Mount has been about the HEART - the MOTIVE - What is your motive?
2. READ JAMES 4:2b-4
2. "SEEK" - GRK to ’an intense active search EXPECTING TO FIND’
A deep intense longing for God’s Will in one’s life & must be found.
Proverbs 8:17 (NIV)
"I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me."
1 Chron. 16:11
"Look to the Lord and his strength; SEEK his face ’ALWAYS’"
IT’S A VERB THAT CONSTANTLY REQUIRES "ACTION"
3. "KNOCK" - Implies persistence even through the obstacles we encounter
- Constant Persistence. (Many MOTIVES are discovered when the obstacles come one’s way)
- Many ASK, Many SEEK, but when it gets tough - with obstacles - quit
KNOCKING implies that we will have the COURAGE TO PASS through the OBSTACLES (the DOORS) that gets IN OUR WAY.
READ LUKE 18:1-8
B. 1 PROMISE REQUIRING "BELIEF"
READ VERSE 8
a. The Sermon on the Mount BEGAN with Promises Requiring Belief
SKIM MATT. 5:3-10
Mark 11:24 (NIV)
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
APPLICATION - Maybe God is wanting to know
1. Do you ASK Expecting God’s Will to Be Your Request?