March 5th, 2013: The Eighteenth Day of Lent

March 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

“For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

~Matthew 7.8~

Christ carries on his teaching regarding prayer. This verse springs from the previous one and provides the rationale behind Christ’s command to pray: We pray persistently because persistent prayer is effectual.

Dr. James Shelton in his work in the Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary points out the importance of prayer to the Jewish culture in the time of Christ: “The early church imitating Jesus and his Jewish heritage prayed at least three times a day…Prayer should be a disciple’s very breath. Persistent prayer will be answered.” (LitSNTC, pg. 171) The importance of prayer to Christ can be seen by the fact that he would withdraw from crowds in order to pray (Matt. 14.23, etc.). Even though ministry to the masses may seem like Christ’s primary task in the Scriptures, we need to be able to recognize the integral role that prayer played in Christ’s life and ministry.

As we consider this passage, we see this verse take on a slightly different meaning than it may appear to have at first glance. This verse is not an “anything goes” promise from Heaven to give us what we want simply because we ask. Rather, it is an invitation to persistent, continual prayer. Christ understood the value of such prayer as it related to his ministry, and desires for us to pray as he did. Asking, seeking, knocking – these are actions of bold persistence.

So, we ask ourselves: what characterizes our prayer life? Do we hurriedly ask for things for ourselves? Or do we persistently, intentionally chase the aims of the Kingdom of Heaven in our prayer time? It’s good to be reminded here that God does care greatly about the little things of our lives – we need to pray regarding things of personal importance. In coming days, we’ll discuss how God the Father desires to answer our prayers with good things. But first, we must be persistent and ask for things consistent with the realities of God’s Kingdom.

Lord Christ, I confess that my prayer lacks this kind of dedication and humility. Change my heart so that I desire what you desire, and do not let me tire of asking you for these things. Amen. 

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