Sunday, May 18, 2008


Matthew 7:7-8 says "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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Ask, Seek, Knock = A. S. K.

The Message version sums it up like this:

7-11"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?"

This passage has taken on an even deeper meaning for me lately. On reflecting on my prayer life, I think that sometimes my prayers are ineffective. Not because God isn't listening or because he gets tired of hearing from me, almost like "Oh geez, it's her again. What does she want now?"

On the contrary. I think that my prayers can become ineffective because they morph into venting sessions. I tell God my problems, ad nauseam I'm sure, but I don't ASK him to act. I don't ASK him to solve. I don't ASK him to heal, to right injustice, for His hand to move, for His touch to restore, for his love to flow free.

I've been treating God like a friend. I want him to listen, and I know that he does and that he always will. But I've forgotten that my God has male likenesses -- he wants to act. He wants to solve. He wants to ride in like the prince on his horse and save the day.

But I haven't asked him lately.

My prayers have not been prayers of asking, seeking, knocking.

I sit in the middle of a raging sea and do not ask. My ship is battered, yet I do not ask. The winds whip around me, yet my lips are closed. And all the while my Lord waits.

I realize that in order to make my prayers more effective I must ASK. But these prayers must be in earnest. I must fall to my face and spend time with Him. They cannot be fleeting prayers that get lost among my laundry and checkbook and errands. They cannot be short bursts uttered as I drift off to sleep. They must be bathed in time. I must present them to the Lord in a manner in which He knows my sincerity.

Asking and seeking and knocking require effort. Almost all that effort must be mine. After all, what right do I have to require the Lord to read my mind, after all he's done for me. . .

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