ASK and it shall be given you;
SEEK and you shall find;
KNOCK and it shall be opened unto you."
Everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks the door shall be opened.. - Luke 11 :9, 10 NAS )
DO I REALLY BELIEVE THAT? "Everyone??"
No promise ever offered me more. Something should happen every time I pray! Yes! Otherwise why pray! God does not tease us. He is not playing games! He says what He means, and He means what He says .- and doesn't use big words. A few very plain words say it all: ASK-SEEK- KNOCK! He uses the simplest language to convey His greatest promises. How can we miss? That's what makes our prayerlessness such a great sin. This "sin of omission" must be measured by the answers I could be receiving.
THE BULLS-EYE -- shows up three-deep praying, which is the depth of our personality. Question: Am I on target when I pray? How often do I "hit the bulls-eye" -- the really big thing I want from God for my life?
EXPLORING THE THREE LEVELS OF PAYER: LUKE 11 :9. 10
1. ASK - Praying -. I can receive hundreds of answers, many every day, just as I go along, by simply asking. How wonderful! It's something like stopping the car at a filling station and asking for gas, or asking for directions. The answer comes quickly. easily. So, in the "Temporal things" the many needs, turns and situations of the day, problems or problem persons, guidance and even "our daily bread," our Lord often answers quickly. This is the "easy" area of praying, where we do the least thing, and lots of it: simply ASK! These answers are not the deepest. They are "lesser" answers and many. They are the "outermost," not the "innermost.
2. SEEK - Praying .- This is deeper. Answers are slower, and harder to come by. And they are much fewer. They involve us in more trial and testing and faith and discipline. We often wonder: "What's happening?" "Why, why, why?" "Why so long?" "Why is this happening to me?" "The Lord doesn't seem to be listening to me." "I thought He loved to answer prayer."
Problem: It's not with the Lord; it's with me. He has to work me over for "great" things, get me ready, bring my faith up to a higher level, where His greater wonders and works are done. Great things must be greatly desired, or we would run off with them as spoiled children. They would ruin us. We would not be ready for them. This has to do with God's great plan for our lives, our getting to know His will, certain crises - In the area of the working of the Holy Spirit, such as our salvation, our sanctification, and our service. It may involve some bigger step, some new chapter of life, calling for careful guidance; our marriage, our children, the conversion of loved ones. Or the working of the Lord in new power and blessing in our church. Here the "outer" order of "getting things" is often reversed, for Jesus, says, "SEEK YE FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these tings will be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33. See context). Even health, protection, jobs and such will be "added".
3. KNOCK - PRAYING -- This is the deepest. It goes into the very depths of our being. The great area of intercession. Pleading! Not that we have to prevail upon God's reluctance, but importune His will and His willingness. There is mystery here: If God wills something so strongly, and promises it so plainly in His Word, why should I have to KNOCK-PLEAD- IMPORTUNE? It seems to me He says, "I heard you the first time?"
Again. the problem is with me. God knows me better than I know myself. Do I really have the faith -- am I ready for this to happen? Do I want "revival" in my life, in my church, in our land as much as it sounds when I pray? Do I want this great thing as much a as God does? Do I agree with Him on this, so that with Him I will one will? Would I give my life for this? Would I die for it? Here God brings me into the deepest identification with HIMSELF. This is the realm of the intercessor. The great praying. The "holy of holies'. This is the bulls-eye. Where answers are slow in coming, and we are tested to the limit! Here the answers are greatest. And few and far between! Like the bulls-eye, they hit on the very centre of our life's purpose and calling in Christ: the "perfect will" of God.
The Bible is full of examples of this kind of praying. Abraham prayed for years, receiving many "lesser" answers on the way -- until he received the big answer of his life: Isaac, the heir of the (original) promise. (Gen 12) Why so long? He had to be tried, tested, disciplined, developed; brought through to where he didn't rattle around in a promise too big for him, but to something of the size and shape of the promise in his own life; where, as the Scripture says, he was "As good as dead!" Dead to Abraham! Then Isaac came, who was his life's biggest answer. He prayed "clear through"! Jacob wrestled in prayer all night and became Israel. This kind of powerful praying is so often two-way: God changes us while changing things through us. Part of every answer is ourselves. And the deeper the dimension of prayer and intercession, the deeper this transforming work. Jesus said, "From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water ... This He spoke of the Spirit ..." (John 7:38, 39 NAS)
What shall we say of Moses, Samuel, Elijah, David, Daniel and the prophets? And of Zacharias, and his wife, Elizabeth? Of old Simeon and Anna? Of John the Baptist? And, above all, of Jesus
who in the days of His flesh saw all His mighty works brought forth from heaven in answer to His mighty intercession? He did everything by prayer. HIS WAS THE GREATEST PRAYER LIFE THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN! And now, in heaven, it is greater still; for He "ever lives to make intercession ..." (Heb 7:25), "a priest for ever ..." (Heb 7:17). Then, in Acts we meet the first church, which was full of members very powerful in prayer. They knew how to "knock." Jesus taught them to do their "knocking" in prayer! The members -- all 120 of them - - "persisted obstinately in prayer and supplication." (Acts 1 :14, lit.) God does not do His great work for quitters! George Mueller prayed for over 50 years for some to be converted, and his prayers were answered.
Read Jesus' parable of the "friend at midnight", (Luke 11 :5-1 0). He asked, he sought, he knocked. He "had it all" and "did it all." That is what "importunity" is. He was not a quitter. He could have quit at the ASK-level, but he pursued and persevered to the KNOCK-level and hit the. bulls-eye! The answer? Not just "three loaves," but "AS MANY AS HE NEEDS." This is the way He will also answer for you!