Key Verse: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
IN THE GOSPEL ACCOUNT written by Luke, following Jesus’ instructions on how to pray, an additional lesson regarding prayer is recorded. Jesus gave an illustration of a certain man who, at first, refused to grant a request by a friend. However, due to his friend’s persistence in petitioning, the man finally granted his friend’s request.—Luke 11:5-8
Within this context is recorded the words of our Key Verse. Jesus then continued, saying most positively, “Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (vs. 10) An important lesson is that our Heavenly Father is pleased with genuine and persistent prayers.
“Ask, and it shall be given you.” To ask means to desire or crave. If we ask or desire something of God, “according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (I John 5:14,15) However, we must also “ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (James 1:5,6) By asking accordingly, we will always receive an answer corresponding to God’s will. His answer to our prayers may be yes, no, or it may be his will that we wait upon him in order to learn an important spiritual lesson.
Next Jesus stated, “Seek, and ye shall find.” As New Creatures in Christ, we are to “seek those things which are above.” (Col. 3:1-3) On other occasions, Jesus said, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father,” and “I seek not mine own glory.” (John 5:30; 8:50) If we are obedient followers of the Master, we will do likewise. In the Prophet Jeremiah’s letter sent to the Israelites who had been carried away captive to Babylon, he recorded the words which God directed him to write, regarding how to seek the Lord: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) One of the chief ways to “seek” and “find” the Lord is through prayer. However, acceptable prayer to our Heavenly Father necessitates having a proper heart attitude, and requires giving all our heart to him.
Jesus then stated that in prayer we are to “knock,” or inquire persistently, and “it shall be opened unto you.” A similar lesson regarding persistency is found in quite a literal sense from the events which occurred after Peter’s miraculous release from prison. (Acts 12:6-17) Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, and “knocked at the door of the gate.” A servant named Rhoda heard his voice and ran back to tell the others in the house that it was Peter, but at first, they did not believe her. However, because “Peter continued knocking,” they opened the door and saw him. Similarly, if we are persistent in prayer, it is promised that the Heavenly Father will open “the windows of heaven” and pour out to us many spiritual blessings.—Mal. 3:10
Jesus concluded this lesson concerning prayer by making a comparison to imperfect earthly parents and their desire to give good things to their children. He stated, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13) Here Jesus indicates that God is glad to give his Holy Spirit to us if we persistently seek it with our whole heart in prayer, and make earnest efforts to study and apply God’s Word in our daily lives.