In my personal walk with God, I’ve learned that faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). As such, I’ve been learning to have faith and rely on my faith, no matter the circumstances. This is especially true in my prayer life, because no matter what I ask or pray for, I know that His will is ultimately what comes to be.
But here’s one thing I’ve learned recently: it’s just as important to ask in the first place.
When it comes down to it, you have to ask for His will to be done, but not only that, Jesus wants us to come to Him with everything: questions, requests, praises, concerns, cares…everything (1 Peter 5:7). After all, that’s one of the many reasons why He came to earth in the first place: not only was it for our salvation, but it was also for us to be able to access Him – and in turn, His Father and the Spirit – anytime, no matter what (John 14:6). There are no more temple curtains.
When I think of asking, I think of the hymn I sang as a child – a hymn we still sing at my home congregation today – “Seek Ye First,” penned by Karen Lafferty. There are two specific verses of that song that come to mind:
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,
And His righteousness.
And all these things shall be added unto you,
Singing Alelu, Alleluia
Ask and it shall be given unto you,
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door shall be open unto you
Singing Alelu, Alleluia
These two verses are derived from Matthew 6:33, as well as Matthew 7:7.
Seeking, asking, and knocking (or answering a knock…more on that later) are three ways we can talk to God. In today’s post, I want to delve into each of these ways as it pertains to prayer life, as well as talk about people in the Bible who have done exactly those things to have God provide those things in turn.
God is always seeking for us; in return, we need to seek and search for Him. It can be by thanking Him for His creation, or even by finding Him in the tougher circumstances (like, for example, being thankful that you’re safe after your car’s front bumper gets dented). Seeking Him in both the little and the big things is of great importance.
One I can think of who sought Him is the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). He sought meaning in the scriptures he was reading, and when he was able to share a carriage with Phillip, he didn’t hesitate to find the meaning he was searching for. And once he understood, he didn’t stop there; as soon as he saw water, he asked if he could be baptized. So, not only should we seek to begin with, but we should also keep seeking throughout our entire walk with God.
Ask of Him
God wants us to ask Him things and to ask Him for things. And by “things,” I mean requests, support, guidance, discernment, and the like. Do not let the fear that He will say no cause you not to pray at all. “No” is just an answer, as are “yes,” “maybe,” and “wait.” You never know what you may miss out on if you don’t ask.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah asked God for a son. In the midst of personal turmoil and despair, she persisted in asking for a son, and she promised that son to God if He gave him to her. God fulfilled that request, and Hannah was faithful in return by giving up her son to be raised by Eli the priest. Ultimately, Samuel became one of the strongest men of God at that time, and not only was he a judge of God’s people, but he anointed a certain shepherd to be king who would later be among Jesus’ lineage (1 Samuel 16:1-13; Matthew 1). So, based on the scriptural evidence, asking really does matter.
Knock (or Answer) the Door
Wait a minute, you’re probably asking me, Isn’t knocking on the door technically the same as asking, just worded differently? As far as asking goes, yes. But there are times when God knocks on the door of our hearts to either ask something of Him or to take action regarding something He has laid on our hearts. When Jesus knocks on the door, we should answer, even – and especially – when we don’t know what lies ahead.
Also, it’s easy to get caught up in asking so much that we forget to wait by the door for an answer. Or, we forget that there’s Someone on the other side of the door when we do knock who will answer. It’s like praying for relief from a flood, only to ignore the two boats and a helicopter that God sends you.
God “knocked” on the door of people’s hearts by way of visions and dreams, such as Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22), Joseph, husband to Mary (Matthew 1:20, 2:15), and even Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19), to name just a few. And each time, they answered or reacted in some way. Their hearts were stirred, so they took action, whether it was to not give up, stay married, flee, or even just say a few words. Making your heart available to hear God’s answer is just as important as asking or seeking.
All of this being said, asking, seeking, and answering His knock share equal importance when it comes to having a relationship with God. But it also needs to be said that they are all just facets of that relationship, meaning that we can’t just stop here. We need to keep asking, seeking, knocking, answering, listening, talking, serving, and living faithfully. Our relationships with God should not be stagnant, dear readers. Rather, we need to keep striving Heavenward, and asking – seeking – is just one place to start.
By Savannah Cottrell