Prayer is a conversation with God. What could be simpler? Yet more questions have been asked about the subject of prayer, and more books have been written in an attempt to answer those questions than I can imagine. I’ve read quite a bit on prayer, but it still puzzles me.
Perhaps it’s because passages like this one make the results of prayer seem so easy, so straightforward.
“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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
I have asked for things and have not received them, have sought but have not found, and have knocked for years on resolutely closed doors. So, what do these verses mean?
They cause me to re-think my prayer life.
Too often I pray with a goal of getting something from God when, amazingly, God just wants a conversation with me.
God is primarily interested in relationship with his children. Things like where we live, or what we do, or the clothes we wear, or how much money we have are of secondary importance to Him. He knows we need all of that, and he is faithful to give us more than we need. However, when I ask, seek and knock for what I want, as opposed to what God wants for me, I am left wondering.
We are told many times to come to the Father with our needs and requests. We’re to pray about everything, and believe me, I take him up on that. But God will never allow himself to be reduced to a heavenly ATM. My relationship with the Father must come first.
My prayer life is growing
I have a theory that God answers the prayers of new believers more freely than those of more mature believers. New believers are just getting to know God, and God is especially faithful to let them know how much he loves them.
I’ve been a believer quite a while, and I remember years when my prayers were answered regularly. Awesome, I thought. God just gives me what I ask for! Over the years, things have changed. He doesn’t answer my prayers quite so easily any more.
Perhaps now he desires more from me. I believe he wants listening before asking, more interest in God’s glory than in my comfort, and more perseverance in my prayers than I could muster up as a young believer.
The asking, seeking and knocking in this passage all suggest a constant, determined, and persistent prayer life. This isn’t just a casual ask and a light knock.
I admit it is a little puzzling, however I still believe that I will receive, and find, and that the door will be opened. Someday.
Are you puzzled over your prayer life? What have you learned?