Our posture toward God and others provides a clue on how we react to Jesus' words in the following devotional scripture.
Today's Devotional Scripture
(Jesus said) "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks." (Matthew 7:7-8, New Living Translation)
Let's start with some self-evaluation. Which of the following postures have you used in times of prayer? (By the way, there is no "perfect" answer.)
- Laying down
Jesus Talks about Prayer
Today's devotional scripture is from the "Sermon on the Mount." Earlier in the sermon Jesus reveals what His expectations are regarding our posture and approach in prayer. "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites," Jesus says. "They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray so people will see them. I tell you the truth, they already have their full reward. When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who cannot be seen. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and He will reward you. And when you pray, don't be like those people who don't know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing, thinking that God will hear them because of their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:5-8)
Jesus not only said it, but He practiced what He preached. Here are just two of many examples found in the Gospels: "While it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mark 1:35) and "After He had dismissed them (His disciples), He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray" (Matthew 14:23).
If you combine Jesus' words and actions with today's devotional scripture, you have a pretty good idea of why you should ask, seek and knock with a degree of excitement. If we approach prayer as an intimate conversation with God, humble ourselves before His authority and ask for what we need, He will answer our prayer.
Answers to Prayer
The answers I have received to requests in prayer are "yes", "wait" or "no". "Yes" shouldn't be a problem except when God's answer doesn't meet my expectations. However, there have been times when God exceeds my expectations. It typically requires a longer waiting period, but it's worth it. It could be getting a better job or receiving the right treatment for an illness.
Now many of us have a problem when the answer is "wait". We have to remember that God's plan for us extends beyond today, so sometimes when He tells us to wait it's because the solution must conform to His will and timetable.
It may seem like the solution to your problem comes at the 11th hour, but trust is most reliable when it is earned. We need to avoid this concept of "God as a genie" who grants three or more wishes after we rush into a prayer closet and tell Him what we think we need.
I try not to argue with God when He says "no". I frequently go back and consider my posture and attitude in approaching Him with this particular prayer request. It may be motivated by selfishness and I just refused to admit it. A "No" to me may be better in the grand scheme of things.
Sometimes others must succeed while I fail. A good example is baseball. One team wins the game, while their opponents endure the loss.
Here's one final prayer thought. Those of us who are preparing for an incredible Easter celebration should humbly ask the Lord to bless Resurrection Sunday. We should never take for granted what Jesus did for us to defeat sin and death. May we persist in prayer
King of Glory, Lord of all the earth, I praise you for hearing my prayers. You love to give your children good gifts! Thank You for encouraging me to keep asking. Help me to hear your voice and pray according to your will. Thank you for the joy of prayer. I wait expectantly for your answer! In Jesus' name. Amen.
The tag on Twitter for this article is #praying and it is logged by @denimartin. You can also comment on this article or send me an email at email@example.com.