This passage is an important part of Jesus’ teaching about prayer. It actually speaks about 3 kinds of prayer that should be a part of our Christian walk. Let’s find out.
Read Matthew 7:7-12
Ask not and you get not: “God never denied that soul anything that went as far as heaven to ask for it.” (John Trapp)
A. The dictionary defines the verb as to make a request as a favor. Now, we can’t ask from a stranger without doubting.
B. But we can certainly ask our earthly fathers with the assurance that we will receive what we ask for. Likewise the Bible says God is our heavenly father.
C. According to Matthew 21:22 however there are 2 conditions. You have to ask in faith and then act in faith.
Ask in faith: “Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.” (Thomas Aquinas)
A. Don’t confuse faith with self confidence. Faith is not an emotion or a feeling either.
B. It’s not gambling, blind faith or leaving your life at the hands of uncertainty as some people would like to call it.
C. It’s the conviction that the invisible God will provide us what we hope for, (Hebrews 11:1)
Act in faith: “Pray as if everything depends on God, then work as if everything depends on you.” (Martin Luther)
A. The Bible in James 2:26 says that faith not accompanied by actions is dead, (James 2:26)
B. Faith isn’t just something you talk about. It’s something you do. Faith is only activated when we act.
C. The Bible says in Mark 11:24 that one of the ways we act in faith is to believe we already received what we asked for.
Pray in accord with God’s will: “In One day in the life of Ivan he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answers, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.” (Our Daily Bread, December 29, 1993)
A. Means to pray within God’s will. James 4:3 says we must prayerfully seek God’s will because he doesn’t answer prayers which contradict his word.
B. In Matthew 7:9-11 we learn God will not answer our prayers if what we pray for could harm us. He is our heavenly father and he cares for us.
C. In Philippians 4:19 God promised to provide all our needs only. Not all our wants.
How to discern God’s will: “Discernment in Scripture is the skill that enables us to differentiate. It is the ability to see issues clearly.” (J. Stowell)
A. By obeying what you already know to be God’s Will. God is very clear about many, many aspects of His will. (John 15:7)
B. The Word of God is our main tool for testing his will. Although it was written 3,400 years ago it still has the answers we need, (Psalm 119:105)
C. Consulting our spiritual leaders is another reliable method we can use to discern God’s will, (Proverbs 11:14)
Intercessory prayer: “There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as pray for him.” (William Law)
A. Most of the time that Jesus spent in prayer was allocated to pray for others than he prayed for himself, (Luke 22:31)
B. The Bible says failure in intercede for our brethren is a sin in the eyes of the Lord, (1 Samuel 12:23)
C. The Bible also urge us to pray for our leaders so that God will give them the wisdom they need to lead, (1 Timothy 2:2)
A. When we intercede we express our concern to God about the interests of others. Not just our own interests, (Philippians 2:4)
B. When we intercede we delay God’s judgement and expedite his deliverance, (Genesis 18:23-33)
C. When we intercede we actually pray according to the desire of God’s heart, (Genesis 18:32)
In conclusion I want to urge you to spend time with God, talk to Him sincerely and honestly and cast your cares on Him. Then find out what He wants to do and follow His lead.
(If this sermon was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)