Ask, Seek, and Knock Facts for 9-13 Year Olds

(Matthew 7:7-11)

Categories: Sermon on the Mount

  • Throughout this Sermon Jesus has commanded his disciples to not react with anger, to not retaliate, to love their enemies, to do good for those who hurt them, and the list goes on.
  • The only way to do what Jesus asks in this Sermon is to have a close relationship with the Father through prayer.
  • Yet, in 6:7-8 Jesus warned us against repetitive prayers—just repeating words over and over again.
  • Now, though, he tells them to “ask, seek, and knock.”
  • To help remember: A = ask; S = seek; K = knock.
  • Jesus has been commanding his disciples not to react, but to “think,” to do what is hard.
  • In order to be able to do this, disciples need wisdom and guidance. This comes from the Father.
  • So Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
  • The three words, “ask, seek, and knock,” are written in a way that mean continuous action.
  • Disciples are to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking.
  • “It will be given” shows that God is doing the giving.
  • This, by no means however, suggests we can get whatever we want, like a tablet or game.
  • There is also no hint of what disciples should be asking for.
  • Prayer doesn’t change God’s purpose or create His desire to give to us.
  • It changes us; it opens the way for Him to give to us.
  • Prayer makes us aware of our need.
  • This is also the most encouraging Biblical passage on prayer in the entire Sermon.
  • Now if you didn’t get it the first time, Jesus repeats it in the next sentence.
  • “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
  • So six times in two verses, Jesus is begging us to pray.
  • And he says, “everyone”!
  • Furthermore, each word gets a little harder to do.
  • The person asking is in need of something and is willing to admit it – a good definition of humility.
  • That person also expects an answer from God.
  • Seeking” takes “asking” one step farther. It implies action.
  • “Knocking” goes farther yet, implying perseverance (keep on asking seeking, knocking).
  • Each one demands a little stronger effort on our part than the one before.
  • And each word is in the present (now) tense, which again says to make a habit of prayer—we pray again and again.
  • It might be helpful to remember that the words “receives, finds, and opens” are all in the present (now) tense, too.
  • Now, some have argued that this promises too much. Prayers aren’t always answered.
  • But we need to remember that God answers prayer in His way, not our way. So we may not get what we want; God will answer us in the way we need.
  • God’s way is always full of wisdom and love.
  • It also helps to know that our prayers are answered in the present, not some future time.
  • According to Jesus, praying does make a difference.
  • He continues, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake.”
  • These questions are written in a way that expects a negative answer: Of course a father won’t give his son a stone if his son asks for bread.
  • “Bread and fish” are every day, ordinary staples of life (like a daily meal).
  • “Stones and serpents” look a little bit like them.
  • The serpent/snake, in this case, is most likely an eel, which is considered unclean.
  • “Bread and fish” are useful; the others are totally useless.
  • Earthly fathers do not mock (make fun of) the needs of their children; they provide for them on a daily basis.
  • Then comes a marvelous statement.
  • “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
  • This may not make total sense. Some people hear this and argue that we are, after all, evil. But an evil one doesn’t tend to give gifts and isn’t generous, thoughtful, and kind.
  • So it is likely that the purpose of the word “evil” in this passage is to show a huge difference between us and the incredibly wonderful, unconditional goodness of the heavenly Father.
  • Think about standing in a line. If someone on the low/bottom end of the line can give good gifts, just imagine the abundance of good gifts we can expect from the Father who is on the opposite/top end of the line!
  • Once again, we read, “How much more will your Father give….”
  • The Father gives good things, spiritual things.
  • God shows breathtaking readiness to give His asking children what is good for them.
  • And this is key. He gives to “those who ask him.”
  • Throughout this passage, Jesus has been commanding us to “ask!”