Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7–8—NIV)

How do we get what we want from God? I suppose this is a brassy way of putting the question we usually mean when we talk of getting answers to prayer. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that a believer cannot ask God for anything, that a believer cannot ask with any sense of urgency or ask with a conviction that he must have an answer from God. After all, our Lord uses the Greek form of asking, indicative of humility, of an inferior asking of his superior. It implies the idea that an answer is imperative for the fulfillment of the believer’s duty as a faithful servant to his master. Our Master wants to hear from His servants as they pursue the fulfillment of His will and His work.

The tasks the Master gives to every believer are salted throughout the context. The Sermon on the Mount portrays the business of the Master as maintaining a pure character (5:1–16), obeying the heart of God in behavior (5:17–48), cultivating the secret life of piety (6:1–18), maintaining single-minded dependence (6:19–34), judging the needs of others rightly (7:1–6), treasuring your sonship (7:7–12), being aware of eternal consequences (7:13–23), and concentrating on the believer’s work (7:24–29). Every subject ignites the realization of our own natural state of being unequal to the divinely assigned tasks.

The context explains the Savior’s use of the three descriptors for believing prayer: ask, seek, knock. Do not let the growing sense of urgency with each word escape your thought. Paul puts it this way, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:13–14)

The three actions are familiar to all of us. We ask, seek and knock only when we really believe someone is there and we desire to establish relational communication. Notice the personal investment which is required as our Lord moves from “everyone,” to “he” and finally to “him.” Answers are urgently pursued. This urgency is underlined by the Greek verb form; keep on asking, keep on searching, and keep on knocking.

Asking signifies humble consciousness of need and intimates a personal level of investment. Seeking is asking plus acting as one searches and examines. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering until the answer received.

The assurance of the Master is that the asker receives, the seeker finds, and the knocker has an open door. Jeremiah 29:12–13 reads, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Is it important enough for you to get what you want from God because what you want more than anything else is to glorify Him by serving Him faithfully? Would God recognize you as one who keeps on asking, keeps on searching and keeps on knocking? Is He coming to the door to open it for you?