Continuing with the Prayer Secret series of articles by Michael Bradley...not that I have many readers, but I am finding quite a lot of soul food in these.I call this particular secret my fighting verse whenever I have to approach God in prayer for something specific. The reason I call this secret my fighting verse is because in this verse are the three main conditions that sometimes must be met before the Lord is going to want to answer any specific prayer request you may have. Here is the verse where this powerful and profound revelation is being given direct to us by Jesus Himself:
"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)Notice two things: 1. First, there are three specific conditions that the Lord is laying out - asking, seeking and knocking. 2. Second, all three of these conditions are listed in one sentence. These three conditions are being separated by semi-colons, not periods. This means that all three of these conditions are being purposely put together in one sentence in order to try and tell us something. I remember when I first saw this verse, I wondered why the original translators were using a semi-colon to separate the three conditions instead of using a period. The reason I was wondering this was due to the way the first part of the verse was worded. If you ask, and then you receive, why would you ever need to seek or knock? Or if you seek, and then you end up finding something, why would you ever need to go to the next condition, which would be some kind of knocking in order to be able to get the door to be opened up for you. I initially thought these three conditions should be in three separate complete sentences so as to isolate and differentiate these three conditions from one another. But after pondering and meditating on this with the Lord, here is what I feel God may be trying to show us with this revelation.
Sometimes all you have to do is ask God for something and He will then answer the prayer. You thus will not have to go into any kind of seeking and/or knocking modes with Him to try and get Him to answer the prayer. Sometimes it will literally be that simple.However, at other times you may ask God for something, but then you do not receive it. If God is not answering your prayer the first time around when you are pressing in and asking Him for something - I believe his verse is trying to tell us something else - and that something else is to consider trying one or two of the next two conditions - either seeking and/or knocking.
If you do not receive any type of an answer from the Lord on a specific prayer request you may have after asking Him several times, try considering going into either a seeking and/or knocking mode with Him to try and get Him to grant you the prayer request. Sometimes the answers to your prayers will only come if you start to do some type of seeking after it.When I discuss each one of these conditions individually below, I will give you some very good examples of how sometimes you may have to add the seeking and/or knocking into your specific prayer requests to the Lord. Many Christians walk away too soon from their prayer altars with the Lord. They ask the Lord once or twice for whatever it is they are wanting from Him - and when He doesn't answer their prayer off of their initial request, they walk away thinking that He doesn't want to answer their prayer - not realizing that maybe the Lord was really wanting to answer their prayer in the first place, but that He was wanting them to go into some kind of seeking and/or knocking mode to get Him to release it to them. So the next time you approach the Lord in prayer for something very specific, make sure that you consider all three of these conditions - asking, seeking and knocking.
Sometimes the Lord will answer your prayer just off of the first condition - asking, and you will not have to go into any kind of seeking and/or knocking mode with Him to get Him to answer the prayer. But then there will be other times that He will want you to go into some kind of seeking and/or knocking mode with Him before He will answer your prayer.Now here is some commentary on each of these three specific conditions so you can see exactly how and when to incorporate these basic principles into your personal prayer life with the Lord.
1. AskingThis first condition, asking, is without question, the easiest of them all. Sometimes all you have to do is ask the Lord once or twice for something that you are really wanting. If the prayer request is in His perfect will for your life, then many of the time the Lord will answer your prayer simply off one or two prayer requests and that will be it. You will not have to get all worked up into any kind of major prevailing or travailing with Him. Just once or twice at the prayer altar will do it. However, as simple as this basic principle is for many Christians to fully understand, there still are many Christians who are violating this basic simple principle with the Lord. This revelation that we are receiving from the Lord is another one that has two sides to it. Again, it is like looking at a two sided coin. On the one side of the coin is "asking." Simply ask the Lord for whatever it is you are needing or wanting, and He will grant the prayer request as long as the request is in His will for your life. But the other side of the coin is that sometimes the Lord will not bring a desire or request that you may have - all because you have failed to ask Him for it in the first place. Here is the verse from our Bible that gives us the flip side to this revelation:
"Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:2)This verse is giving us two major revelations. The first revelation is that sometimes you do not receive something from God simply because you did not ask Him for it. You either simply forgot to ask Him for it, or you chose, for whatever your personal reasons may have been at the time, not to ask Him for it. As a result, your request and desire is never brought your way because God was the only One that could have brought it to you in the first place - and you chose not to get the ball rolling with Him by asking Him to bring it to you. The second piece of revelation that is coming off of this verse is that maybe you have presented your prayer request before God, but this request was not in God's perfect will for your life. You may be wanting something for the wrong reason or the wrong motive, like the last part of this verse is implying when it says that the prayer request might be for your own selfish and worldly pleasures. This verse is telling us that when we do this, we are asking "amiss." According to some of the different Bible dictionaries, the word "amiss" means we are asking for something "wrongly" or "mistakenly." This is why all of your prayer requests have always got to line up with the perfect will of God for your life. As I have stated in my article "Prayer Secret #2 - The Will of God," God always knows what is best for you in all situations. And sometimes God will choose not to answer a specific prayer request you may have because it may not be in your best interests - even though you may not be able to see it at the time that you are asking Him for it. But now back to the first part of the revelation in the above verse - where sometimes we do not receive something from God because we have not asked Him for it. This now becomes the flip side to this same coin. Again, on the one side of the coin is receiving something from the Lord because we have officially asked Him for it. But now the other side to that same coin is that we may not have received something from the Lord because we did not officially ask Him for it. As simple as this basic principle is to fully grasp and understand by everyone, it really is quite amazing how many Christians are not getting many of their basic needs, wants and desires met because they have either simply forgot to ask God to help them receive the desire in the first place or they have chosen not to ask God for the desire.
Here are several good examples to illustrate all of this:1. There are many Christians who are out looking for their true soul mates and who have not yet married. But instead of going direct to God the Father and asking Him to lead them to the person of His choice, they are out trying to find their true soul mate all on their own efforts and wisdom. As a result, they either end up never finding their true soul mate in this life or they end up marrying the wrong person. They are then forced to live the rest of their earthly lives in a miserable and unhappy marriage - or they end up marrying and divorcing several times throughout their lives, never finding that one true love that God already had in store for them had they simply asked Him for His opinion on the matter in the first place. I literally cannot even begin to count the number of Christians I have personally met who have never thought to ask God for His opinion on who they should be marrying in this life, and then asking Him to lead them to the person of His choice. As a result, many of these people have either gone through multiple divorces or they have never married as a result of never finding that one true love. Trying to find your true God-mate in this life without any of God's help or guidance is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. In other words, you will never find the one person you were meant to be with unless you first start out by asking God to lead you to that person in the first place. Not only is God the only One who knows who this person is that would be the most suitable and compatible for you in this life, but He is the only One that can actually lead you to where this person is located. But yet so many Christians think they know better than God who they should be marrying in this life, and as a result, they all end up marrying the wrong people and they then end up going from one broken marriage to another trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. And all of these sad tragedies end up occurring because they simply forgot to do one simple little thing - they forgot to turn the entire matter over to God and ask Him to lead them to the mate that He would've had in store for them. 2. Another area where many Christians get themselves in trouble with the Lord in learning how to ask Him for different things is that after a certain amount of time, they start to want to try and do everything on their own - without any of God's help or guidance. Instead of remaining humble and accountable to the Lord in their own personal walks with Him, they now want the challenge of trying to accomplish everything all on their own efforts and wisdom. Pride has now entered into their big picture and they now no longer need God or any of His help to get through this life in one piece. They are now deciding who they should be marrying, what kind of jobs they should be taking, and what kinds of goals and aspirations they should be striving for in this life. As a result, they no longer ask God for anything and their prayer life gets completely shut down. And then sooner or later, it eventually happens. They end up getting half way up the mountain they are attempting to climb all on their own efforts and then they end up losing it all. They end up falling from what they thought was the top of their personal mountain down to the very bottom of it, literally losing everything that they had worked so hard to build up. They end up losing their marriages, their jobs, their careers, many of their so called friends, and much of the money and wealth that they had acquired. And again, all of this occurs because they simply forgot to turn the reigns of their life over to God for Him to fully handle, and then to ask God to lead them into the specific areas that He was wanting them to move in. God knows best as to who you should be marrying in this life, what jobs you should be taking, and what careers or vocations you should be entering into. And again - all of this can be given to you free of charge direct from God Himself if you will simply enter into this full surrender with Him, and then ask Him to take complete control of your life and the direction it will now be heading. As the very first verse I have listed at the top of this article says, simply ask and you shall receive. However, if you don't ask, you will not receive. Sometimes it really is that simple. All we have to do is be willing to stay in this full surrender with the Lord, stay humble and accountable in our walk with Him, and never forget that we will need His help and guidance on a daily basis to make it into the specific goals and areas that He will want us to move into in this life.
2. SeekingIf at first you have no luck with the Lord in asking Him for something specific, then strongly consider going into some kind of seeking mode with Him to see if that will be what will get Him to answer your prayer. Notice in the verse at the top of this article that you if seek, then you will "find." One of the ways God may actually want to answer one of your prayers is by leading you into finding it - and the only way you will be able to find it is by being willing to go into some kind of seeking mode to find it. Here are a few examples: 1. Say you have just lost your job. Your first step will be to go to God in prayer and ask Him to lead you to the next job that He will want you to be working in. After you put the request before Him, God will now tell you to do one or two things. He will either tell you to just wait, hold your position and He will bring the next job to you at the time that He has it set up to come into your life - or He will tell you to start going into a seeking mode to try and find it. If God tells you that He wants you to go into a seeking mode to try and find it, then this means you will now have to start knocking on doors and going on interviews. You may have to go on 7 or 8 interviews before you finally land the job He will want you to have. He will make sure that you land at the right spot at the right time. He will lead you to the next right job as you are seeking after it, and He will make sure that you find it right at the time that He has it set up to manifest in your life. If God already knows where your next job is going to be, why would He want you going through 7 or 8 interviews before you actually find it? I believe there are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that He may simply want you to go into a seeking mode in order to show Him that you are willing to expend some time and energy in order to try and find it. Many of the times, the Lord doesn't want to always give you a free lunch. There are times that you will have to work, sweat and seek for whatever it is God is wanting to bring your way. And one of the ways that He will do this is by throwing you into some kind of seeking mode to try and find whatever it is that He is wanting to bring your way. There is a price to pay for everything, and sometimes the price is paid in the actual seeking of it. The second reason God may want to throw you into a seeking mode where you have to go on several interviews is because He may want you to get your communication skills sharpened up before you walk into the door that will be your next job. By going on all of these different interviews, you will become much more skilled with the interview process, and this may end up being what will cause you to get the job that He will really want you to have. But if you have not been willing to sharpen up your interview skills by going on all of these different job interviews, then you may not have the right stuff to convince your new boss that you are going to be the right man for the job. God always has His personal reasons for everything that He does. Be guided by the Holy Spirit as to what kind of chess moves God wants to make with you and your life. 2. Another area where you may have to go into some kind of seeking mode in order to try and find it, is once again, the search for a soul mate. Say you are 22 years old. You have just asked God to lead you to the soul mate of His choice, not your choice. You are now willing to be fully guided by the Holy Spirit to try and find this person. You have now fully committed this request into the hands of God the Father, and you will now let Him make the call as to who you should be marrying in this life. Once you do this, God will have you take one of two approaches. He may simply tell you to wait, hold your position and that you do not need to be dating or getting entangled with anyone else in a dating relationship, and that He will lead you to this person at the time that He has it set up to occur. Or He could possibly have you go into some kind of seeking mode to find this person. If you are 22 years old, and God has it set up for you to meet this person 10 years later when you turn 32, you will have 10 years to kill during that time. During those 10 years, God may want you to actually date a few people. One of the reasons He may want you to date a few other people is that you may need to grow and mature in how you relate to others in a romantic type relationship. You may need to learn a few things. You may need a few rough edges in your personality smoothed out and cleaned up before He finally matches you up with the person of His choice. When you go into this type of seeking mode with the Lord, you will never know where, when, or how you will meet your true God-mate. God now has thrown you into an official seeking mode, and all you know is that you will find this person at the prescribed time that God has it set up to occur as you are seeking after him or her. But if you are not willing to go into a seeking mode to try and find this person - you may never get this prayer request answered by God after you put the initial request on His altar.
This lack of being willing to go into a seeking mode is what is causing many Christians to miss out on some of the bigger and better blessings that God would have in store for them in this life.This is why I believe that the Lord has put both the "seeking modes" and "knocking modes" all together in the verse at the top of this article right next to the "asking mode." Sometimes you will have to be willing to ask, seek and knock before God will move to fully answer your prayer. So the next time you have a major prayer request to put before the Lord, examine and analyze, and try to pick up from the Holy Spirit, whether or not you will need to go into any kind of seeking mode with God in order to try and get Him to want to answer your specific prayer.
3. KnockingThe last and final principle in the above verse is the "knocking mode." I believe the knocking mode is another higher level of intensity in this prayer secret. The word "knock" in one of my Bible dictionaries means to "rap on a door." And the above verse is definitely implying knocking on a door when it says that if you knock, then it will be "opened" to you.
When you knock on a door, look very closely as to what happens. Next time you knock on someone's door, watch how many times you naturally and instinctively want to knock. You will naturally want to knock at least two to four times. You will not knock just one time. Try knocking just one time and see how unnatural it feels.Knocking thus means that you are asking and possibly seeking more than one time for whatever it is that you are asking God for. The two examples I gave above about going on several interviews in order to try and find God's next job for you, or being willing to date several other people before God leads you to the mate of His choice are two perfect examples of putting this knocking principle into full operation. Sometimes not only will God have you go into some kind of seeking mode before He will grant your prayer request, but He may also have you go into a full scale knocking mode where you are seeking more than one time in a certain direction. In other words, you may have to try something more than one time before God will answer the prayer. God may want to see how much of an intense desire you really have for the prayer request by watching how much desire and intensity you show Him in your seeking and knocking after it.
ConclusionSo how do you know which of these three modes to go into when you decide to approach God the Father with a specific prayer request? For those of you who have established a good inside connection to the Holy Spirit, many of the times you can pick it up directly from Him as to which of the three modes you will need to go into on a specific prayer request to the Lord. Sometimes you will be able to read and pick it up from Him that all you will need to do is ask God one or two times, and you will not need to go into any kind of seeking and/or knocking mode to get God to answer your prayer. However, there will be other times that you will feel led to go into a seeking mode with God before He will grant the answer to your prayer. And not only will the Holy Spirit help to let you know when you will need to go into some kind of seeking mode with God, but He will also help guide and direct you once you go into that seeking mode so you can learn everything that God will want teach you, and then eventually get to where God wants to lead you to before He will be willing to grant the prayer request.
In other words, if God wants you to go into some kind of dating mode before He brings your true soul mate to you, then the Holy Spirit will let you know which people God will want you to date so that you can connect with the right people so that you can then learn everything that God will want to teach you before it is His time to match you up with His very best.For those of you who have yet to establish this kind of inner connection with the Holy Spirit, just simply ask God, if He has not answered your prayer request within a certain amount of time, if you need to go into any kind of seeking and/or knocking mode with Him before He will grant your prayer request. If you ask with a sincere heart, God will let you know loud and clear as to whether or not you need to only go in one of these modes with Him, in any two of these modes, or possibly in all three of these modes with Him.
This ask-seek-knock verse is another powerful piece of revelation being given to us by our Lord. In this revelation are three powerful key principles. I believe these three principles are giving us a major secret in how we are to approach God the Father in our personal prayer life with Him.
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