Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.Matthew 7:7-8 ASV
Christ said, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
(1) gradually, as in the case of Hawthorne’s little Ernst in “The Great Stone Face,”
(2) literally as in the case of Jonah,
(3) by denial of the request, as in the case of Paul’s thorn in the flesh,
(4) by sending something other than was requested as in the case of our Lord’s prayer for the cup to pass but which was answered by his receiving strength to drink it, and
(5) after delay as in the case of Jairus’ prayer for Christ to heal his daughter.
A-sk, and ye shall receive
S-eek, and ye shall find
K-nock, and it shall be opened
Certainly, there is a statement of God’s law that prayers, in some measure at least, determine the kind of answer.
Another translation is, “Ask, and what you ask will be given you. Search, and you will find what you search for.”
Thus, if one pursues unworthy goals, he may attain them. Alas, many do.
Prayers should be disciplined to request only those things which are truly desirable and should always submissively include the provision, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done” (Matthew 26:39).
Of all rash things, a rash prayer is the rashest. Rachel prayed, “Give me children, or else I die” (Genesis 30:1). God gave her children, “and she died” (Genesis 35:18).
The children of Israel “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalms 106:14,15).
God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers. And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, A gauntlet with a gift in’t.
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way:
What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us; as Goethe said, “What we wish for in youth, comes in heaps on us in old age,” too often cursed with the granting of our prayer; and hence the high caution, that, since we are sure of having what we wish, we beware to ask only for high things.