// Kenneth E. Hagin
THE PRAYER COMMONLY referred to as the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9–13), begins with the words, "Our Father which art in heaven." In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus again taught on prayer and compared the earthly relationship between a father and son to the believer's relationship with the Heavenly Father.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Jesus introduced God as a Father and suggested that He could be approached as one. To many, Christianity is just a religion about a faraway God. They haven't come to Him through Jesus Christ to know Him personally as their Father; so they approach Him in the wrong manner. But thank God, He is our Father and we can come to Him because we are His children!
Most Christians are aware that this verse is in the Bible: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7). Too often, though, we fail to receive what we are asking for; we fail to find what we are seeking; and the door on which we are knocking is not opened. What is the reason for our failure?
I once read a book by a missionary who had spent 32 years in the Holy Land. In his book, the missionary commented on the passage of Scripture in Matthew chapter 7. He said, "I thought as most Christians do, that when Jesus said, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,' He meant if you asked and didn't receive an immediate answer to keep on asking. However, after living in the Holy Land for many years and becoming familiar with the thinking of the Eastern mind, I learned that this was not what Jesus meant at all.
"In those days, if someone came to the outer gate and knocked, seeking entrance, the wealthy would send their servant to call out and ask the name of the visitor. If it was someone who was known, they could enter immediately. If it was someone unknown, the servant would go to the master of the house and ask if he should let the visitor in. The thought here is that when you knock, if you are known, you gain immediate entrance. 'To him that knocketh it shall be opened.' "
If when we ask we do not receive, if when we seek we do not find, if when we knock it is not opened to us, we should ask ourselves if we are known by the Master of the house. If not, we should become acquainted personally and intimately with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For as Jesus explained in Matthew 7:11, our Heavenly Father is eager to give good gifts unto His children. What earthly father wants his children to go through life poor and downtrodden, sick and suffering? So if you, being carnal—being human—want good things for your children, "How much more shall your Father which is heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
If we want happiness, health and material blessings for our children, how much more does God want the same for us. Luke's account of the story gives us a few more details.
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
In this account, which deals with the prayer of importunity (or persistence), many people have mistakenly had the idea that Jesus was teaching us to keep on asking in order to get results. However, Jesus was illustrating here that although the neighbor would not get out of bed to give the man bread just because he was a friend, he gave it to him because of his persistence. Jesus was saying how much more our heavenly Father will hear us and grant our requests.
The Holy Spirit had a purpose for inspiring Luke and Matthew to record as they did. The Holy Spirit, as He inspired Matthew, wanted to stress the good things of life. He inspired Luke to emphasize the spiritual things God has for us.
It is the persistence of faith, not the persistence of unbelief, that gets results. We can beg God all we want, but we will never get an answer if our prayer is in unbelief. Just remind God of your request. Remind Him of what He promised. Remind Him that you are expecting the answer and let this persistence be a persistence of faith. It will bring results. By asking, seeking, and knocking in faith, we can enjoy the abundant blessings God has for His children.
FAITH IN ACTION
Abiding in Christ
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Jesus promised that when His Word dwells in us and we ask in faith, we will receive answers to our prayers! Here are three simple steps to follow that will assure answered prayer.
1. Find scripture that promises you what you are praying for.
2. Take time to meditate on these verses before you pray.
3. Take God's Word with you in prayer by reminding Him of what He said.