Prayer is powerful because God is powerful. And prayer is effective because God is good. Not only does God hear our prayers. He responds to our prayers. It is an incredible thing to realize that the God of the universe hears and cares and responds to our petitions.
But prayer is challenging. We often need a reminder about the power of prayer to stay disciplined in prayer.
Here are three vital lessons Jesus teaches us about prayer.
Jesus On Prayer
In Matthew 7 Jesus says,
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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8, ESV)
Jesus teaches us three vital lessons in this passage on prayer.
#1 God Provides
Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive.”
When we pray, God provides.
“For everyone who asks receives.”
You and I are limited in every conceivable way. We’re limited financially. We’re limited in the amount of time we have. And we’re limited in energy. In every category, you and I are limited.
But God is not.
You and I get weak and tired. God remains strong. Our bank accounts ebb and flow. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We lose hope from time to time. But God is the God of all hope. When we’re ready to quit, God’s ready to conquer.
In this text Jesus reminds us that when we’re feeling inadequate, when we’re anxious and afraid, when we’re in desperate need of a miracle, God provides.
Ask and you shall receive.
#2 God Reveals
Have you ever been at a place in your life where you just didn’t know what to do? Maybe in your marriage. Maybe with your kids. Or maybe at work.
Life rarely comes easy. And the best decision or the right thing to do is not always obvious.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Jesus says we should turn to God in prayer. Because God is a God who reveals.
“Seek and you shall find.”
Have you ever lost your car keys? I lose mine all the time. I don’t know how many times I’ve been running late for work or for an appointment, and I can’t find my keys. If you’ve ever been in a situation like that, then you know that you’ll turn the house upside down looking for them if you have to.
There is a persistence there. You seek until you find.
That’s what Jesus is talking about here.
Be persistent in prayer. Seek the Lord. Don’t give up and you will find what you’re looking for.
#3 God Makes Possible
One of my favorite verses in the Bible says, “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27, NASB).
The Bible is filled with examples of God accomplishing the impossible. Abraham and Sarah have a son, even though they were both advanced in years and she was barren. Moses parts the Red Sea. Joshua commands the priests to blow their trumpets and the walls of Jericho fall. David kills Goliath.
Over and over again God does what we would consider impossible.
What’s impossible with man is possible with God. “For all things are possible with God.”
What would your life look like if you believed that? What kind of prayers would you pray if you pray if you believed that all things are possible with God? How would your perspective change?
Jesus says, “Knock and the door will be open.”
Nothing is too hard for the God of heaven.
Good Gifts From Your Good Father
All of this is possible because God is good.
After Jesus unpacks these three great truths, He says,
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are 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 7:9-11, ESV)
If I ask my daughter Eden what she wants to eat for lunch, nine times out of ten she’s going to say she wants a peanut butter sandwich. She loves peanut butter. What kind of dad would I be if instead of peanut butter I gave her moldy tuna? That’s not right, is it? Nobody would do that, would they? Of course not!
And that’s Jesus’ point. You know how to give good things to your children. And so does God. In fact, He gives far better gifts than we could ever imagine.
He’s the God who provides, who reveals, who makes impossible things possible.
And He’s good. And He’s for you. So come to Him.