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Do We Know How to Ask?

“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 … 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!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

I write this in a time when I am doing a LOT of asking God for things, many of which I have been trusting for for years now.

In our modern McDonalds fast-food culture, we can get confused with scriptures that tell us to simply ‘ask’ and we will receive. Attempts at making this easier to understand by including the idea that we must ask what God wants can sometimes just aggravate us, because many things we ask for (such as health or a healing) seem to make sense to be God’s will, both biblically and logically.

But the kind of asking the Bible talks about is different. It incorporates these other two actions as well — seeking and knocking. The knocking can, quite clearly, refer to a persistence and the seeking to a knowing of what God’s will is, but I think there’s more to it than just that (as profound as those might be).

We don’t just seek to know His Will but we seek to know Him. We seek His presence. In our asking, seeking His presence is a huge part of the whole thing. We don’t just want to know what God wants, we want to know who he is. And we want to keep knocking on the door where we keep asking, “Who are You Lord? Show me who You are!” If we seek we will find, if we knock the door will be opened.

Do we know what asking means? Do we know how to ask? God is not a McDonalds, clearly, we don’t do much seeking and knocking when we pick up our double cheese burgers. Neither are those double cheese burgers very nourishing. As we seek and knock to know Him, we find ourselves nourished, with peace, joy and such things; the very core need of any of our prayers.

God wants us to ask, seek and knock at the same time. See, God is not one who is quick to reward, but when he rewards, he rewards richly.

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Today’s Christian Doing Spiritual Warfare

A Christian man woke up on a Saturday morning and decided to take a ‘prayer walk’ down the road.

He got dressed, grabbed his Bible and a few things and quickly set out. It was a beautifully crisp autumn morning.

“Oh Lord, please give me opportunities to share your goodness and your Gospel with the world!” he prayed.

After a few minutes a real downtrodden-looking woman passed him and stood in his way.

“Could you please spare some change? I’m so hungry and have nothing to eat,” she said.

“Sorry,” said the man. “I’m busy praying. Can’t help you right now.”

He continued to walk and now his praying got more aggressive.

“Devil! I command you to loose yourself from my city! In the name of Jesus I command you and your demons to go!”

A middle-aged man was hobbling towards him. It seemed as if his one leg was shorter than the other, and he seemed to have a really bad cough. Altogether, it looked as if sickness was getting the better of him.

“Oh, I wish I could walk like you do! And be in such good health!” the middle-aged man said to the Christian as they passed.

“Sorry, I’m a little busy to talk right now. I’m doing spiritual warfare,” said the Christian.

Eventually he found a bench and sat down, taking out his Bible. He remembered reading about a spiritual technique called “Lectio Divina”, a way of reading scripture and praying that was practiced by early monks. He started practicing this spiritual discipline.

A rather smartly dressed man holding a few magazines under his arm came and sat down next to him. He opened one of the magazines entitled, “Atheism today” and browsed through it. Another was called, “The New Age Correspondent.” He browsed through this too and turned towards the Christian, who looked up.

The smartly dressed man was looking quite intently at him.

“Have you heard?” he said. “God is dead. Or he may just be the Universe, a cosmic goodness we can become by looking deeply enough inside ourselves to find our Inner Goodness.”

“Sorry,” said the Christian, quite politely. “I’m busy reading my Bible and praying right now. No time to chat.”

The smartly dressed man carried on browsing his magazines and then eventually left. The Christian, having finished his spiritual exercises, stretched and went back home.

He grabbed his car keys and decided to go shopping.