TO CHEW ON: " ' 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.' " Matthew 7:7,8
If you've ever lived with a child determined to get his or her way, you'll have experienced a bit of what these verses talk about from God's point of view. "Mom, please. Why not? You said…Please? When?"
My Bible's commentary says about the grammatical construction: "The Greek imperatives ask, seek and knock (vs. 7) are in the present tense suggesting continued petition" - J. Lyle Story, commentary on Matthew, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1302.
However, prayers that take a long time to be answered are much more than our attempts to convince God that it's answer time. Persevering prayer:
- proves to God and us our deep desires.
- reminds us of our ignorance of God's timing.
- focuses us on what is really important enough to stay on our prayer list year after year.
- may have us searching our lives for hindrances to God answering our prayers,
- while at the same time living alert to ways God is working and the part He may want us to play in bringing about the answers.
Daniel Henderson, in his book Transforming Prayer says about prayer generally:
"He has ordained prayer as a means by which we depend on and trust in Him. He answers our prayers to give us what He knows we need to bring Him glory. … We often pray to escape our difficulties rather than embrace discipleship" Daniel Henderson, Transforming Prayer, p. 79.
About the parallel passage to this one (Luke 11:9-13) Henderson says:
"Jesus clarifies His focus on the good things we should expect with these words: 'How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!' (Luke 11:13). The life spring of all the good things the Father wants to give us is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit" - Ibid, p. 81.
So we can and should keep up our persevering ways in prayer, knowing that the answer—whatever it is, whenever it comes—will be good.
PRAYER: Dear God, please keep the burden heavy on me over the things You want me to continue to pray for. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.