Vol 171001 March 2017
Last night, I found myself at the Kingdom Invasion conference. Once again, I was nothing short of awestruck……the worship, special items, even, what would normally be mundane announcements, caused me to realise that God’s presence was all over the place in a very special way. I asked myself “why?” The only conclusion that I could come to was that every single person that took to the stage was a “chaser after the presence of God”. I realised also that sometimes I chase after all kinds of other “good” things, but neglect the “best”….The Presence of God!
For me, the highlight was the message by Bill Johnson. It’s one of those messages that I will probably remember for the rest of my life. Here are the two passages that he shared from:
[Mat 6:7-8 NKJV] 7 "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Then, this one in the very next chapter:
[Mat 7:7-11 NKJV] 7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
He said: “Did you notice something? In chapter 6 we are instructed not to use “vain repetitions”, but in chapter 7 we are told to ask, seek and knock, or as it is rendered in the NLT, “keep on asking…keep on seeking…keep on knocking”
Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it!” He went on to share that we need to be in the presence of God to know when it’s a matter of travailing and when it’s done. He also pointed out that Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by HEARING”….not by “having heard”. It’s in the present continuous tense. More often than not, we don’t need to “travail” for our “daily bread” but there are other things, like the dreams that God has put in our hearts, that we need to contend for. Knowing the difference is the key. Continually being in His presence will cause us to know the difference!
Bill Johnson also shared, through an unforgettable illustration, just how much the Father wants to bless us and how He desires, even more than us, to see our dreams fulfilled.
There was so much more….but, this was my big “take-away”.
Author Jeremy Myers writes:
Jesus taught us to be answers to our own prayers when, in the Sermon on the Mount, He told His disciples, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8).
When reading this passage, most people think that Jesus was saying the same thing three different times: pray, and your prayer will get answered. But there may be a better way of understanding the words of Jesus.
Jesus is not simply telling His disciples to pray, but is giving them instructions on how to see answers to their own prayers.
First, Jesus tells them to ask. This is the prayer part. It is taking our requests and needs to God, and presenting them before Him. It is not that He is unaware of our needs, for He knows what we need before we ask Him (Matt 6:8).
Just as we talk over the issues of our day with our spouse or friends, so also God wants us to communicate with Him about the issues and needs which are heavy on our hearts and minds. So, we ask Him about these things. This is the first step to prayer.
But after we ask, we don’t simply keep asking. We must begin to seek. This is the second step. Seeking is when we look around for how God might answer our prayers. After we ask God for something, the next thing we must do is start looking around with eyes of faith for how God might be providing answers to the issues we discussed with Him.
Seeking answers to our prayers leads to the third step in getting our prayers answer: knocking. After we ask God to help us with our needs, and as we seek for possible ways that God might answer our requests, we must then step out in faith and knock on the doors that present themselves. When we ask, we ask with faith. When we seek, we seek possible answers with eyes of faith. And when we knock, we step out and take risks with faith by pursuing opportunities that were brought to our attention during the seeking phase.
Ask Seek Knock. Sometimes the first door we knock on is the one that opens, but this is usually not the case. Sometimes we have to knock on ten, fifty, even hundreds of doors. For this reason, the knocking phase is often the most difficult, but it is here that perseverance is vitally important if we are going to see answers to our prayers.
Want to see more answers to prayer? Don’t just ask God for things. Step out and seek ways that He might answer them, and then knock on the doors of opportunity that are presented. In this way, praying is more than just asking God for things and then sitting around, waiting for Him to respond.
So, what do we do?….We keep on praying BUT, we pray even more effectively!
Ps Howard Myers