The Inspiring Word
Taking Ownership of Prayer
Dr. Terry Cheek
Who among us hasn’t been faced with a situation that demanded prayer! I know I have. If for some reason you haven’t, keep reading because the day will come when you will, and this article may help you deal with both the situation and your response with prayer. If you’re like me and you have been there, done that and got the tee shirt; just keep reading maybe you too can find some inspiration in the words that follow.
From the sermon on the Mount as recorded by Matthew 7:7-11 we read. KJV “(7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (9) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? (10) Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? (11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” When I give attention to the verbs ask, seek and knock I find three very important attributes to prayer. These I fear, often become overlooked as we seek God in our daily struggles. Look with me at these words of action, one at a time.
Ask is a very simple word. Daily we go about life asking for many things. Yet as we do, how often do we ask with humility? We can ask one of two ways. First, we can petition by way of words. Second, we can require, expect or claim. I am convinced that in the case of this passage the former applies. When the Lord directs us to ask, He is wanting us to petition God for our needs. In verse eleven Jesus plainly tells us our Father which is in heaven wants to give good things to them who ask! But, to petition someone, even God, requires humility. Only God has the resources and authority to grant our petition. Therefore, humility is required by us as we seek the Lord in prayer.
Seek is another simple word. Maybe not as simple as ask but nonetheless a word with obvious meaning. To seek can mean going in search of something, looking from place to place. To seek can also mean endeavoring to discover something. In our passage the later applies. When we endeavor, we labor from the heart. We desire something which has deep meaning in our lives. Our prayers should be coming from our hearts. They should not be words haphazardly thrown around with no conviction. An example is verse ten. Would you give your child a serpent or a stone if they ask you for fish or bread? Of course not, because we love our children and take seriously our responsibility for them. How much more should we love the Lord and take seriously His sacrifice for our souls? If we endeavor to provide our best for our children should we not also do likewise for our petitions to God the Father! May we seek Him passionately and with humility.
Knock is my third word for this article and passage. Have you ever visited with a church group and knocked on a stranger’s door to invite them to church? To walk up and knock on a door requires a few things. First, it requires intent. You must be intentional when you walk up to that door. It’s not something that just happens, you plan it and think through it. Second, you walk up to that door with a purpose. In the case of my example your purpose would be to invite someone to church. Third, you walk up to that door in faith. Not knowing who will be on the other side or how they will accept you, it is faith that gives you the strength and courage to make that contact. When we pray, we likewise need the same three ingredients in our prayer life. We should pray intentionally. We should plan our prayer life and execute it with a strategy that reaches the throne of God. We should also pray with a purpose. Whether it is healing or comforting or thanksgiving or gratitude or the list could go on and on. Our prayer life should have a purpose. Finally, we should pray with faith. Do we approach prayer expecting God to answer or do we pray merely hoping God will answer? Approach God with confidence.
The saved are His saints and they have His ear. Glory to God what a blessing it is to know that Jesus is at the right hand of God making intercession for us and the Holy Spirit is taking our groaning’s and pleading our case before the throne of heaven. Until next month practice your knee mail and may God richly bless you.
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry
You can contact Terry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by visiting www.theinspiringword.org