Prayer can sometimes be frustrating. We ask for things over and over again and feel like God never answers. Some of us may even feel we don’t have the right to ask God for anything. God is, after all, ominpotent and omnipresence, so He will do what He is going to do. So, what is prayer all about? Let’s look at three important principles Jesus shares with the Disciples.
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell 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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:5-10
Jesus starts by sharing a parable. In Jesus’ time it was an expectation that a host would provide food for their guest, no matter the difficulty involved. As long as someone asked, you gave. Jesus says that God also wants to give to us. He gives us three simple principles for prayer.
- Ask: This is the easiest for us. Its typically quite simple to ask God for something. What is it that you should be asking God for?
- Seek: This is where prayer gets harder, and also where we misunderstand what prayer is all about. Jesus says we need to do more than ask: we need to actively seek after what we want. We are not to just pray for financial well-being, but to work towards it, following Biblical principles. We don’t just pray for our church to grow, we share the gospel with others. Jesus calls us to work towards our needs, to partner with God in seeing our prayers answered.
- Knock: To knock is to persevere, to keep asking and seeking. Sometimes God answers our prayers quickly, other times He asks us to persevere. It is beyond our human minds to know God’s reasons. God works on an eternal time line, while we tend to focus on seconds and minutes. Instead of giving up, we need to keep asking and seeking. I prayed for a friend to accept Christ for years, constantly praying and seeking (by sharing the gospel). After 15 years I received an excited call that he had accepted Christ! He now is an amazing leader in his church, serving God in many ways. God answers prayers, we need to trust in His eternal time line and keep asking, seeking, and knocking.