*Ask, Seek, Knock.
“Ask, and it will be given to you.” Luke 11:9 NASB
All who desire the grace of God are to wait for it, first, in the way of prayer. This is the express direction of our Lord Himself. In His Sermon on the Mount, after explaining at length wherein religion consists and describing the main branches of it, He adds, “’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 and Luke 11:9-10 (NASB). In the plainest manner, we are here directed to ask in order to receive, or as a means of receiving; to seek, in order to find the grace of God, the pearl of great price; and to knock, to continue asking and seeking, if we would enter into His kingdom.
That no doubt might remain, our Lord gives a peculiar parable of a father who desires to give good gifts to his children, concluding with these words, “’How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?’” Luke 11:13 (NASB).
Jesus gives a direction to pray, with a positive promise that by this means we shall obtain our request: “’Go into your room, and…pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and…He…will reward you openly.’” Matthew 6:6 (NKJV).
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this sixth lesson on prayer, Wesley reminds us that prayer is not a one-time thing but a progressive work that brings answers along the way and eventually leads us to our eternal destination. There are those who believe to ask more than once is a sign of weak faith. But according to scripture, this is not the case.
Let us look at Luke 11:5-13 and Luke 18:1-8 to get an idea of how Jesus reinforces the idea of persistence and expectation when it comes to prayer.
5 Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10″For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11″Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12″Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13″ If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (NASB)
In Luke 18:1-8 we read:
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3 “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4 “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
As Wesley brought out, “In the plainest manner, we are here directed to ask in order to receive, or as a means of receiving; to seek, in order to find the grace of God, the pearl of great price; and to knock, to continue asking and seeking, if we would enter into His kingdom.