The Power of Prayer

“ 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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” 

(Matthew 7:7-11)

Everything needs a power source, whether electrical, mechanical or biological. Without a power source nothing works as it was intended to work. We also need a spiritual power source to energize our spiritual lives. If we do not have a spiritual power source, our spiritual live do not work as God designed them to. In our relationship with God one of the main power sources we have is prayer. Prayer is communion with God. We derive strength, comfort, help and guidance from prayer. We’ve all experienced times of spiritual weakness. During those moments we need the power of prayer. Prayer is by its very nature a dependent recognition of weakness. Matthew 7:7-11 speaks to us of the power of prayer.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus gives his kingdom manifesto on how to live a kingdom life. In this message Jesus teaches on prayer twice. The first is in the well known passage where we find the Lord’s prayer (6:9-13)., and the second is in the passage we have before us (Matthew 7:7-11). Here Jesus encourages us to actually pray. One gets the sense that Jesus is calling out prayerlessness in the lives of his hearers. The power of prayer must be used to be effective in a person’s life. We simply must pray!

In our passage (Matthew 7:7-11) we see the principle of prayer, the promise of prayer and the picture of prayer. First, the principle of prayer is in verse seven. Here we notice three commands each followed by a promise. We often see this with commands. Obedience to the command of God holds our a promise. The commands are: ask, seek and knock. The promise is that those who ask receive, and those who seek find, and those who knock the door will be opened. These command are really a call to pray diligently. Those who ask are those who recognize their needs and believe God will meet them. Those who seek are those who desire a deeper relationship with the Lord and believe that if they humble themselves God will guide. And those who knock are those who experience a closed door of some kind and believe God will open it if they call on him.

Second, the promise of prayer is seen in verse eight. We are exhorted to ask, seek and knock because those who do receive, find and have the door opened to them. This seems like a blank check, but it is for those who will pray believing God will answer. Those who pray with humility, dependence and persistence will receive what they need. And if our prayer are not answered exactly as we want, we know that our God is good and gives what is best.

And finally, we have the picture of prayer in verses 9-11. Jesus, the master story teller, drives home his point with a simple but touching story. Surely if a child ask his father for something he needs, he is safe to expect his father to respond with goodness and compassion. The point Jesus is making is how much more can we expect our heavenly Father to respond to our needs with goodness and compassion than any earthly father would. Since we know that the Father loves us, we can call on him in our needs and he will answer. It is a matter of faith. We trust God to pour out his blessings on us in the way he knows best.

The way we see this teaching of Jesus most clearly is when we feel deeply our need for forgiveness and salvation and call out to him in prayer. We ask for his forgiveness; we seek a love relationship with him; and we knock on heaven’s door and he pours out his grace and the Holy Spirit on us. “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things.” (Romans 8:31-32)

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