Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7:7-12

The message in this Gospel has to be very confidence inspiring for each of us.  There is such wisdom in its simplicity and such hope in the promise that it provides. It gives us three word pairings – the first word is an action that we are to take, and the second word is the result God promises:

 

1) Ask, and it will be given to you. 2) Seek, and you’ll find, 3) Knock, and the door will be opened for you.  It kinda makes the whole faith thing a pretty simple undertaking.

 

In Luke's version of this same Gospel, the preceding paragraph tells the story of the visit of a friend at midnight to ask for bread, and the owner of the house turns him down(you might recall that story). Jesus uses that story to say, that if the owner of the house doesn't get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.  The story is told to inspire us to have a greater fervency and constancy in our prayer. 

 

God will support us in our journeys.  When we make a move, God will also make a move.  When we get out of our comfort zones and stretch our faith, God will release more of his favor.  When we think bigger, God will act bigger.  When we persist in our prayer, God tells us that he will, in fact, deliver.  But the trouble is, a lot of times, we’re waiting on God, when the truth is, God is waiting on us.   

 

Why do we hold back?  Doubt.  Doubt creeps in because God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want him to. We need to remind our doubting minds that he's not ignoring us. He's not too busy. He's not punishing us. He's not unkind or unloving in any way. God always gives us what he knows is best for us, at the perfect time, and in a way that benefits everyone who's affected by it.

 

True prayer involves giving God our love and our trust so completely that we say our prayer this way, "Heavenly Father, here's my request. Answer it any way you choose, even if it's not the way I want it or expect it. I thank you now, before my prayer is answered, because I know you're already working on a plan that's very good."

 

Queen Esther knew this. That's why she could confidently pray, as we see her do in today's first reading, "Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord." She was a Jew married to a pagan king who was about to destroy all the Jews in his territory. By God's power working through her, the people were saved.

We can overcome our doubts by thanking God as the Psalmist did in today's responsorial: "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me." On the day! We don't actually see it that soon(not usually), but we know God is immediately, that very day, taking action to help us.

 

We are encouraged to ask boldly, knowing that we can trust God.  In Hebrews it says, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find the grace to help us in our time of need".

 

We aren't to pray with a whimper or a whine or a whisper. No. We are to come with a confident asking, seeking, knocking.  God our Father desires to hear our petitions if we are entirely open with him. Prayer is not a time to hide what is going on inside us, but to share it openly -- warts and all -- with our Father whom we know loves us and understands us and seeks good for us.  We can trust him, even though we might be misunderstanding an issue, or asking for the wrong thing.

 

So, as we go through our day today, let us take with us the confidence that a son or daughter might have after a nice big hug from an approving mom or dad.  Let us ask, seek and knock boldly in our prayer to the Father.  If we do that, we can trust him to allow us to receive, find, and have the door opened for us.

 

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