(Recommended reading – Luke 11:1-13)
Jesus said in Luke 11:9-10 (NKJCV): “’So I say to you, 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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’”
These are familiar words – words that are taught often when God’s promises are the topic. Wonderful promises they are that with no doubt should be believed. God does not lie, so if He taught it we should take it to heart and believe it fully. Numbers 23:19 (NLT): “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” It seems pretty simple – we have a need so we ask in prayer for our desired answer and it happens. Right?
But what are we to think when we ask for something and believe we will get an answer, yet nothing happens? Is our faith too weak? We supposedly only need faith as big as a tiny mustard seed. Was it not God’s will? We should know what God’s will is before we ask – the answers are always in His Word – we know He wants His children healthy, He wants them to have good things in their lives. Were we asking for things selfishly or with conditions attached? Un-oh!
We also need to keep in mind that we just are not all-knowing as our heavenly Father is. Think of it this way, there are more ways to give an answer than just one. “Yes” is not always the best answer for us. The best answer could be “No”; or it could be “Maybe”; or, it could be “Later”.
If God should give us the answer of “No”, it is for our own good. I believe the answer will still come and it will likely be better than what we anticipated or asked for. If His answer is “Maybe”, there is a chance we need to rethink our request – we may not have the best outcome clear in our mind and He wants only the best for us. If His answer is “Later”, there has to be a good reason. Possibly we are not truly prepared physically, emotionally or spiritually for the answer. When the time is right, for the best possible result, then the answer will be given.
With those first two quoted verses that I opened with, what is not discussed so much is what Jesus was teaching before He spoke those promises. The first four verses of that passage are when Jesus was teaching the Lord’s prayer. Verses 5-8 (NLT) say: ”Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: ‘Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” And verse 9 reads in the NLT: “’And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.’” [Emphasis mine]
I personally believe that unless you pray about something and you receive an immediate answer of “Yes”, and have obvious evidence of that answer, then you need to persist. You need to be bold in your prayer – speak God’s promises to Him that are related to your need. Be ready to receive your answer; and, never be surprised when it arrives.
God is not going to be upset if we persist with the same prayer over and over again – especially if we know that we are not asking for anything that falls outside His desires for us. When the time is right for the prayer to be answered, it will happen. Persistence pays.
Written by Karran Martin – August 25, 2019