“Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be open to you, for everyone who asks, receives and the one who seeks finds, and 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
We can trust God’s goodness in prayer, even when we don’t get what we asked for.
The Mysterious Nature of Matthew 7:7–11
Matthew 7:7–11 is both encouraging and perplexing at the same time. So encouraging because they’re a promise from Jesus that everyone who asks, receives, asks and it will be given to you. But then they’re perplexing because I’m guessing each of us is probably asked for things before in prayer and God has not given us what we’ve asked of him. So is this a promise we can lean on and trust in or not? And that’s why verses 9 through 11 or so important because Jesus goes onto say, “You have a good Father.”
These Verses Remind Us That the Father Knows Best
And just like you as a dad, I think about my life as a dad when my kids ask for something. Sometimes they do ask for things that are not best for them and I tell them no. But I want to give good gifts to them. I want their best all the time, and I’m evil, I’m a sinner, I don’t always know what is best. The whole picture here is Jesus saying, “You have a Father in heaven who always knows what is best for you. So when you ask of him, you can be confident that he stands ready to give everything that is good for you, everything that is best for you.”
An Example From My Own Life
So I think about one of the darkest moments in my life. When I got a call from my younger brother. And all the sudden, just on the other end of the line, he’s saying, “David you need to pray you, need to pray, something’s wrong with dad.” My dad, best friend, and biggest fan in the world. Just meant a lot to me and I hear the news that I need to start praying. I don’t know what’s wrong and my younger brother just hangs up the phone.
So I just start going before the Lord. I’m pleading, “God please save my dad. God please, provide for my dad, please strengthen my dad”, all these things I just start pleading for dad. Then I get a call about an hour later and it’s my older brother on the line saying that dad was dead. That dad had passed away from a heart attack.
Finding the Truth of Matthew 7:7–11
I remember thinking in that moment, and really since that moment. Here I was, I was pleading for my dad. And I’ve got these words in Matthew 7:7–11 to say ask and it will be given you. But God didn’t answer the way I certainly longed for and wanted in that moment.
So how do we think about that? How do I respond to that and that’s where verses 9 through 11 are so huge. I believe that I have a Father in Heaven who listens to me when I call to him and he always gives what is good. When I asked for bread, he doesn’t give a stone. When I ask for fish, he doesn’t give a serpent. And so I can trust His goodness, even when in prayer he doesn’t respond in the way I would hope.
Encouragement to Continue Pleading With God
I want to encourage you. Let’s be bold in our asking before God and are seeking God. As well as our knocking and our pleading before God. But let’s do that, yes, on one hand with confidence that He hears us and that He will respond to our prayers. But let’s believe that response is driven by His wisdom more than desires. And let’s believe that however He responds He will respond as the overflow of a good father who loves his children.
Prayer of Confidence in God
So God we praise you for this promise. Not just that when we ask, you hear. But that you respond in ways that are good and wise beyond our comprehension. Lord, we trust in you. We trust that You are our Father in heaven. That You are good, that You desire to give good gifts. And that You have authority and power to give good gifts. So, as we pray, we say we trust in You.
We want to plead before You, we want to express our hearts before You, our minds before You, laid bare we want to pour out ourselves before You. But we know that as we do we have limited perspective and limited knowledge and limited wisdom and we don’t always know what is the best. But we trust that You do and You work all things together for the good of those who love You and have been called according to Your purpose. So, we trust You in prayer. As we plead before You in prayer. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.