Thursday, March 18 – By Rev. Mark Aitchison
Effective Prayer – Matthew 7:1-12
How many of you like to receive gifts? I admit I do. I like sweaters and I often receive one for Christmas. This year my son Andrew gave me a beautiful, soft, warm sweater, and I love it.
How many of you like to give gifts? I know I do. My wife Pattie also loves to give gifts so we check in with each other to avoid giving the same gift.
Today, we’re going to hear from Jesus about asking God for gifts. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us how to live as faithful followers of God. In this passage, Jesus gives us more insight on how to pray to God, particularly when it comes to asking for good gifts.
Jesus has already spoken to us about prayer starting back in Matthew 6. In this passage Jesus zeros in on this question: How do we ask God for good gifts?
• “Ask, and it will be given to you.
• Seek, and you will find.
• Knock and the door will be opened to you.
• For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Jesus gives us three specific ways to solicit God for God’s gifts: ask, seek and knock. We are to ask. That’s simple enough to understand, is it not? We simply ask God for God’s blessings. We are also to seek. When you seek something, you intentionally look for it. You go out to find it because you want it so much. We are also to knock. Knocking means that we want to come in somewhere. We know that we need permission, so we seek that permission. We seek permission to enter!
Jesus says, “Ask. Seek. Knock.” Sometimes we teach our children not to ask people for things because it’s not polite to ask for things all of the time. Teaching that to children is a good practice. However, there are some situations where the person is letting everyone know that they have something to give away and if someone wants it, all they have to do is ask for it.
Jesus is giving us permission to ask! He is telling us that gifts are available – all you have to do is ask for them, and seek them, and when you find them, knock on the door to enter in to receive them! God is a good and generous God!
Notice also that we are actively involved in this process of receiving the gifts of God. God is the author and the giver of the gifts, and we, as recipients, are participants in this process. We are encouraged to ask, to seek and to knock.
How do we ask, seek, and knock? Primarily we do that through prayer and Bible reading. These are far and away the most effective ways to speak to God, hear from God, and find what God has in store for us. God wants to hear from us. God wants us to seek God. God wants us to knock on God’s door. If we do, we will receive, we will find and the door will be opened to us.
Prayer: Loving God, help me not to lean on my own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct my words, thoughts and actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen