As a child of God, you have an amazing privilege—you may come to your heavenly Father, not occasionally, but continually for what you need. The Lord puts it this way in Matthew 7:7-8, “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.” Did you notice that there is an increase in intensity here? It starts with ask, which is a simple request. Then it progresses to seek, which is more involved and takes more effort. Then it advances to knock, which is even more intense.
This progression shows that the life of faith is not a casual, passive response. So as a pastor, I don’t just pray, “Lord, I’d like to preach a sermon that really helps people understand your word and live it out. So please give me a great sermon.” Yes, I do pray I do ask, but I also seek and knock. I cry out for wisdom then I study hard. It’s work. It takes effort and persistence, I struggle, I keep praying and keep working.
So, if you are lacking peace or joy or self-control or strength in your life, what do you do? Do you ask the Lord for what you need and stop there? Yes, start with asking, but then move to seeking and knocking. You study God’s word to find insight and wisdom. You avoid temptations and situations that weaken and defeat you. You seek out a brother or sister to help you. You keep praying. You persevere.
In Matthew 7 the Lord goes on to use the illustration of a caring, earthly father who will certainly give good gifts to his children, making the point, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” The issue isn’t, is God willing to give to you? The issue is this: Are you willing to receive? Many times,that the answer is no. You and I don’t ask, we don’t seek, we don’t knock—and so we don’t receive.
So what is it you need right now? Bring that to the Lord in prayer, ask, seek, and knock, and trust His love to provide for you.