Text: Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Is there a more amazing statement in the entire Bible than this one passage that we just read?
Amazing though it is, we know that this statement is true. It is true because Jesus SPOKE it and He never spoke anything but the Truth. We must believe it, but why don’t we actually practice it?
A man by the name of Hugh Price, an old Welsh clergyman, told a story called “The City of Everywhere?” He arrived in the city one cold morning. As he got off the train, the station was like any other station with the crowds and redcaps, except everyone was barefoot. They wore no shoes. He noticed the cabdriver was barefoot. “Pardon me,” He asked the driver. “I was just wondering why you don’t wear shoes. Don’t you believe in wearing shoes?” “Sure we do,” said the driver. “Why don’t you wear them then?” asked the man. The driver replied, “Ah, that’s the question. Why don’t we wear shoes? Why don’t we?”
At the hotel it was the same thing. The clerk, the bell boys, everyone was barefoot. In the coffee shop he noticed a nice looking fellow at a table opposite him who was also barefoot. He said to him, “I notice you aren’t wearing shoes. I wonder why?” Don’t you know about shoes?” The man replied, “Of course I know about shoes.” “Then why don’t you wear them?” “Ah, that’s the question,” said the man. “Why don’t we, why don’t we?”
After breakfast he walked out on the street into the snow, but everyone he saw was barefoot. He asked another man about it and pointed out how shoes protect the feet from the cold. The man simply said, “We know about shoes. See that building yonder? That is the shoe manufacturing plant. We are very proud of that plant and every week we gather there and hear the man in charge tell about shoes and how wonderful they are.” “Then why don’t you wear shoes?” asked the man. “Ah, that’s the question,” said the man, “Why don’t we, why don’t we?”
Dr. Robert Goodrich Jr. retold this story in his book from years ago called, “What’s It all About?” but then asked the question, “Don’t we believe in prayer? Don’t we know what it could mean in our lives? Of course we do, we know all about prayer. Then why don’t we pray? Ah, that is the question? Why don’t we pray? That is the question?”
Many answers as to why we don’t pray are given, such as: Our lives are just so crowded and hurried and we just don’t take the time out of our busy day. I’ve personally heard someone tell my father years ago, “I enjoyed the Wednesday night service and prayer but the time of my favorite TV show was changed so I either had to give up the service or my TV show, so I gave up the Wednesday night meeting.
Some would say that we don’t pray because we lack “Faith”, or because we don’t know how to pray, or because there are things in our lives which make us ashamed to face God. None of these are the real reasons. Why don’t we pray?
We believe in prayer. Then why don’t we pray? The real reason is that we have nothing to pray for. WE have everything we want without having to pray for it. The supreme tragedy of most people is that they want so little and are satisfied with almost nothing. Sustenance Only.
Dr. Charles Crowe, in his book, “Sermons from the Mount” says that prayer is for the adventurous life. If there is no call to adventure there is no call to prayer. He tells a story about a man who had retired. Every morning the man would get up and read the obituaries to see if his name was there. If it wasn’t listed among the dead then he would get back into bed for the remainder of the day.
Don’t you see a lot of people who are satisfied just to be alive? They have no high dreams, no lofty hopes, no great ambitions, and no burning desires. Someone took a survey once and found out that nine out of ten people have no definite plan in life. They just wanted to drift along and are content with whatever comes along. Wanting nothing, they pray for nothing.
In contrast, listen to the words of Dean Alfange, an old politician: I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon if I can. I seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.”
There is a man who prays. He has a reason to do so!
For years we have heard that the chemical elements of the human body only amount to a few cents. But it is known that in contrast that the energy potential of the human body is about 11,400,000 kilowatt hours per pound, and that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So if we are worth this much why aren’t we reaching for the stars? Why should we be content with so little when we are worth so much? Why wouldn’t you reach out for something really big?
So many people get nothing because they want nothing. Jesus said, “Ask…seek…knock.” But Jesus also said, “Your Father knows what thing you have need of, before you ask Him.” Why then must we ask? We give our own children many things they need whether they ask for them or not, food, clothes, a bed. But many things we can’t give until they ask, advice and knowledge for example. The asking is not a condition of God’s giving, but rather a condition of our ability and willingness to receive.
Deep desire will lead you to “Ask…Seek…Knock.” These words of our text are in the present tense. This means that for us a better way of looking at them may be like this, “Keep on asking, Keep on seeking, Keep on Knocking.” This is a continuing action. Life is both alike and different from mountain climbing. Alike, in that the climber is constantly struggling higher to reach the top. Different, in that in life we never reach the top. In life we never arrive because we give up in the struggle of the climb and we begin to fall back, become disheartened and we die.
Someone asked Raphael, the great painter, “Which is your greatest painting?” He replied, “My next one.” This is the spirit of greatness that made him great!
Notice the order and meaning of the words of our text: Ask is first. A child asks its Father of something. It is really an admission of helplessness. The child can’t earn it or provide it for himself. The man on the corner who is blind asks for help. He is merely begging, he offers nothing in return. And often when we come before God we only come asking, but we are his children and that gives us the right to do so.
Seek is the next word. This means asking plus some effort. The boy who is asking for a job is at the same time offering a service. Many of god’s gifts come not in the form of pure Gold, but in a form we call ore, ore needing to be dug out or the earth and refined before we can use it or enjoy it. The Gold is there, but it is awaiting our effort. Isn’t that the way it should be? We don’t want to go through life as only beggars!
Knock; the third word. Jesus told the story of a man who continued to knock on his neighbor’s door at midnight until the man got up and answered his request. Luke 11:5-8. Knocking means asking, plus effort, plus persistence.
Read the old story about Florence Nightingale again to see a real example of prayer. At the age of 17 she felt God’s call to become a nurse and she aspired to her calling. Unfortunately, blocking her path was the opposition of a neurotic mother, the prejudice against a career for a woman, and the antagonism of the medical profession. But she wouldn’t give up what she aspired to. She kept on asking, seeking, and knocking. It wasn’t until she was 30 that her prayers were answered.
Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Jesus’ promise is that something will be given unto you. Ask, seek, knock so that you may begin to exist within God’s existence and that your mind will become His mind and that which you ask for will become that which God desires for you. God may have even greater things for you to aspire to if you but seek and find as you stand at that door and knock. Remember, prayer is the Key to heaven, but Faith-Faithfulness in Asking and Knocking unlocks the door.
Roy Blizzard © 2015by