Today we are going to look at Matthew 7:7 and explore how we can receive answers from the Lord. In this verse, Jesus discusses three different levels of prayer with an assurance that we will receive results. Why would we need to ask, seek, and knock? Are there specific conditions that give us a response from the Lord to each of these? We will look at each of these in-depth. Today we are going to look at the word “ASK.” Let’s read our verse in context first.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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!” Matthew 7:7 – 11 (NKJV)
According to Biblestudytools.com, the Hebrew word for ask is sha’al, which means “to inquire,” “to seek for counsel,” or “to demand.” It’s equivalent in the New Testament is “to request.” It very often represents a relationship of an inferior petitioner asking something from a superior. However, it does not imply begging but rather a relationship as a child asks a father. Jesus tells us that God is a good Father and knows how to give good gifts to His children who ask Him (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13).
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
In Matthew 6:8, Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father already knows what we need even before we ask Him, so why do we need to ask or pray? In the subsequent verses, He teaches the disciples how to pray. We are told and encouraged to ask (James 4:2). Asking and receiving comes from a relationship with the Father because we are His children. God is a generous giver! So, how should we ask? We ask humbly (1 Peter 5:6-7), reverently (Hebrews 5:7), but boldly (Hebrews 4:16), and in faith with the expectation of receiving our request (Hebrews 11:1).
When we pray, we reach the throne room coming boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus lives to make intercession for us as our representative (our go-between or mediator), giving us access to the Father (Hebrews 7:24-25). He has already finished the work of reconciliation by His death and resurrection. Our job is to come to the Father in Jesus’ name based on what He has done and His righteousness (John 16:23-24).
Asking sometimes involves persistence (Luke 18:1-8) and perseverance or endurance (Hebrews 10:36; 2 Peter 1:5-7). Sometimes, we may get an answer right away, and other times we may have to wait and either keep praying or move on to seeking and knocking. While we are waiting, God is working in the circumstance and on us as well! Perseverance builds character and a closer relationship with the Lord while we are learning to trust Him.
Remember, we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Daniel didn’t receive his answer to prayer for twenty-one days. The angel was sent out at the time he prayed to bring him the answer but was delayed because of the battle in the heavenly places (Daniel 10:10-14).
We get ourselves into trouble like some saints in the Bible did when we don’t wait for the answer and take matters into our own hands (read about Abraham & Sarah; King Saul, etc.). Allow His grace to flow, so your answer will come.
God’s Word is His will (Matthew 4:4; James 1:22; Romans 12:2; 2 Peter 1:4), and Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; John 7:17). When we abide in Him, our desires will line up with what He desires (John 15:7). We aren’t trying to get God to do what we want. The more time we spend in communion with the Lord, the more we will know what to ask for according to His will!
Prayer is two-way communication. We can make our requests by asking, but we also need to listen to hear His response. We can be confident that we can hear His voice as we spend time with Him in the Word because He speaks through His Word, and by listening to the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, My sheep hear My voice (John 10:27). Allow the Holy Spirit to direct and assist you in praying (Romans 8:14; 26-27), as well as asking for wisdom (James 1:5-6).
There are some conditions we see in Scripture surrounding our receiving. We must first ask (James 4:2), then ask according to the will of God, which is His Word, ask the Father in the name of Jesus, in faith, believing we will receive what we have asked and with thanksgiving.
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:22 (NKJV)
Now, this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14 – 15 (NKJV)
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13 – 14 (NKJV)
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 (NKJV)
So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you; whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:22 – 24 (NKJV)
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22 (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
It is also important to avoid the following hindrances to receiving answers to our prayers:
We must come with the right motive and not ask amiss (wrongly or inappropriately) to spend it on our pleasures selfishly (James 4:2-3). We must not harbor unforgiveness towards others (Mark 11:25). Husbands are to dwell with their wives with understanding, giving them honor (1 Peter 3:7).
Don’t let fear, doubt, guilt, shame or condemnation keep you from coming to the Father to ask for what you need. We have been cleansed and made righteous because of Jesus (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The prayers of a righteous man avail much (James 5:16).
It doesn’t matter how small or how big our need or request is. Our heavenly Father loves to have us come to Him and trust Him to handle it (Proverbs 3:5-6). We aren’t to lean on our understanding, wisdom, or strength, which is pride. Jesus says that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
God says to put Him in remembrance of His Word, what He has said, (Isaiah 43:26). Decree and declare His promises and thank Him for the answer. Let me leave you with this encouraging promise from the LORD:
“It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24 (NKJV)