“Ask, and it shall be given you;” Or, The Certainty of the Answer to Prayers

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asks receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” — Matthew 7:7-8

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” — James 4:3

Our Jesus discusses prayer for a second time in this section of the Sermon on the Mount. The first time He had spoken of the Father who is to be found in secret, and rewards openly, and had given us the pattern prayer, He had given us the pattern prayer. He is the Father who is found in the secret place (Matthew 6:5-15). The certainty that one’s request will be heard and answered is widely regarded as the most important aspect of prayer throughout the entirety of the Bible. Here, the Lord desires to teach us this principle. Observe how He uses words that mean almost the same thing, and how each time He repeats the promise so clearly; “Ye shall receive, ye shall find, it shall be opened unto you;” and then how He gives as the ground for such assurance the law of the kingdom; “He that asketh, receiveth; he that seeketh, findeth; to him that knocketh, it shall he opened.” It is impossible for us not to sense that the purpose of this sixfold repetition is to ingrain in our heads the single reality that we may and most confidently ought to anticipate an answer to the prayer that we have offered. In the entire course of the school of prayer, there is not a more significant lesson than this one: Everyone who asks, receives. This is second only to the revelation of the love that the Father has for his children.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.


The Lord employs the phrases “ask, seek, and knock” in these three words. An interpretational distinction has been looked for. If this was in fact the goal that He had in mind, then this would be the first. The “gifts” that we pray for are referred to as “ask.” But I can still ask for it and get it even if the Giver isn’t there. The term “seek” refers to God himself throughout the Bible. Christ gives me confidence that I will be able to locate him. But, it is not enough to find God in a time of need if one does not also come to an abiding relationship with other believers. The phrase “Knock” refers to being granted permission to stay with Him and in Him. The act of asking for and receiving the gift would therefore lead to searching for and locating the Giver, which would then lead once more to knocking on and entering the home of the Father and receiving his love. The Lord wants us to count on the fact that asking, seeking, and knocking cannot be in vain; the inescapable fruit of prayer is receiving an answer, discovering God, having one’s heart opened, and entering the dwelling place of God. This is one thing that is certain.

The fact that the Lord believed it to be necessary to reiterate the truth in so many different forms is a lesson that carries a great deal of weight. It is evidence that He knows our hearts, including how naturally we have doubt and distrust toward God, as well as how naturally we are motivated to rest in prayer as a religious work even when we do not receive an answer. He is also aware of the fact that even though we believe that God is the One who hears our prayers, believing prayer that grasps hold of the promise is something spiritual, too high and demanding for the disciple who only gives half of their effort. Hence, at the very beginning of His teaching to people who would like to learn how to pray, Jesus makes it his primary goal to instill this fact firmly into their hearts. Prayer is helpful in many ways. Ask, and it will be given to you. Everyone who asks will obtain what they need. If you pray and do not receive what you ask for, then there must be something missing from your request that is causing it not to be answered. This is the unchanging law of the kingdom. Permit the Word and Spirit to instruct you on the proper way to pray, but do not give up the confidence that the enemy wishes to destroy in you. Everyone who asks will obtain what they need.

“Ask, and you shall receive,” the Bible says. In Christ’s school, this is the most powerful incentive that Christ provides for persistent prayer. If a youngster is required to demonstrate that a calculation is accurate, then the solution is the demonstration that we have prayed correctly. If we pray yet do not receive what we ask for, it is because we have not yet mastered the art of prayer. Thus, every student in the school of Christ should receive the word of the Master literally and in its most basic form. Everyone who asks will obtain what they need. He was justified in his unreserved assertions for a number of reasons. Be careful not to undermine the power of God’s Word by relying too heavily on human insight. When He reveals heavenly truths to us, we ought to have faith in what He says, since His Word will make perfect sense to anybody who truly trusts in it. If there are any uncertainties or challenges, let us not make it a priority to resolve them before we take the Word into consideration. Instead, let us give all of them over to His care. It is His job to find solutions to them. Our labor consists of first and foremost accepting and clinging to His promise in its entirety. Let yourself to enter our inner chamber as well as the inner chamber of our hearts. The word should be written in letters of light, and anybody who asks should get what they want.

According to the teachings of the Master, prayer is split into two sections and has two faces, one that is human and the other that is divine. The human being is the one who poses the question, while the Divine is the one who answers it. Or, to see either from a human perspective, there is the act of asking, as well as the act of receiving; these are the two parts that comprise the total. It’s almost as if he’s trying to tell us that we shouldn’t stop looking for an answer until we find one, because it’s the will of God, the way things are done in the family of the Father, and every simple prayer based on faith is granted. In the event that we do not receive an answer, we are not to assume that it is not in God’s desire to provide one and instead continue to engage in the inactivity that passes for surrender. No, there must be something in the petition that is not as God would have it, which is for the prayer to have the faith of a child. In order for us to receive an answer to our prayers, we need to seek the grace to pray. It is much simpler for the flesh to yield without receiving a response than it is to yield itself to be investigated and cleansed by the Spirit until it has acquired the ability to pray the prayer of faith.

It is one of the worst signs of the ill state of Christian life in these modern times that so many people are able to rest content without the obvious experience of having their prayers answered. They pray every day, ask many things, and have faith that some of them will be heard, but they do not know much in the way of an open and honest response to prayer as the rule of daily life. And this is what the Father wants. He desires to have constant communication with His offspring by attending to their needs and granting their requests. Jesus wants me to approach Him on a daily basis with specific questions and concerns. He expresses a willingness on a daily basis to carry out my requests. The ancient believers gained knowledge of God as the One Who Is Alive by the answers that He provided to their prayers, which in turn inspired them to thank and love Him (Psalm 34:1, 16:19, 66:1). Prayer and its answer, the question asked by the child and the response given by the father, are inseparable parts of the same whole, and our Teacher is standing by to make sure that we remember this.

In other situations, the response may be a refuse since the request is not in accordance with the Word of God, as was the case when Moses made his request to enter Canaan. Nevertheless, there was a response to the question. God did not allow His servant to be in the dark regarding His will at any point. The gods worshiped by heathens are mute and unable to communicate with their followers. Our Father communicates to His child when He is unable to grant what it is that the kid begs for, and the child responds by withdrawing his petition, just as the Son did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Both Moses the servant and Christ the Son were aware that what they were requesting did not coincide with what the Lord had previously spoken. Their supplicatory prayer focused on the question of whether or not it was even remotely feasible for the choice to be reversed. God will reveal to people who are open to learning and willing to give Him time, through the revelation of His Word and Spirit, whether or not their petition is in accordance with God’s desire. Let us retract the request if it is not in accordance with the mind that God has, or let us persist until the answer arrives. It has been decided that prayer will be used to find the solution. The offering of prayer and the subsequent reception of an answer both facilitate the exchange of love that takes place between the Father and the child.

To have such a hard time understanding God’s promises demonstrates how far our hearts have drifted away from their relationship with him. Even while we acknowledge the reality of the words and accept them as such, the faith of the heart that finally embraces them and finds joy in them is a process that takes a long time. The reason for this is because our spiritual life is still so feeble, and our capacity to take God’s views into consideration is also so feeble. So let us look to Jesus to educate us as no one save He can teach, for He is the only one who can teach. Let’s take His words at face value and put our trust in God that His Spirit will work in us to bring them to life and give them strength. They will penetrate our innermost selves to such a degree that the divine spiritual reality of the truth that they contain will in fact take possession of us, and we will not be able to rest content until every petition that we offer is carried heavenward on the words of Jesus himself: “Ask, and it will be given to you.”

Dear friends who also follow Jesus and are students in his school! Let us commit to gaining a solid understanding of this topic. Let us take these remarks exactly in the manner in which they were said. Let us not allow the influence of human reason to diminish their power. Believe them in the form that Jesus has given them to us. Let’s take them as they are. When the time is right, he will instruct us on how to properly comprehend them. Let us begin by taking their word for it without question. Let us make it a point to listen to His voice as frequently as we pray to him. Everyone who asks will obtain what they need. Let us not use the little experiences of our unbelief as the yardstick to gauge the potential outcomes of our faith. Let us make it a priority to remember that the happy assurance that man’s prayer on earth and God’s answer in heaven are designed to complement one another not only during times when we specifically set aside to pray but at all other times as well. Let us put our faith in Jesus to instruct us in how to pray so that we may receive the answer. If we remain faithful to the message that He gives us today, He will fulfill His promise. “Ask, and it shall be given you,” the Bible says.

“Lord, instruct us in the way of prayer.”

Lord Jesus! Help me to understand and have faith in what it is that you have now promised to me. It is not a secret to Thee, my Lord, the reasonings that my heart strives to console itself with when there is no answer given. There is the possibility that the Father’s hidden counsel does not agree with my petition, that there is something more beneficial that you could bestow upon me, or that prayer itself, as company with God, is a blessing in and of itself, regardless of whether or not it is answered. And yet, my beloved Lord, I see in Thy teaching on prayer that Thou didst not speak of these things, but did express so explicitly that prayer may and must expect an answer from God. This is something that I find very interesting. You reassure us that this is the relationship of a child with the Father; the child asks, and the Father gives. This is the fellowship of a child with the Father.

Praise be to the Lord! Your words are always reliable and trustworthy. It must be because of the way that I pray that I do not have a clearer experience of God answering my prayers. It must be because I don’t spend enough time living in the Spirit, because my prayer doesn’t spend enough time in the Spirit, and because the power for the prayer of faith is insufficient.

Lord! Help me learn how to pray. Lord Jesus! I have faith in Thee regarding it. Help me to have trust when I pray. Please, Lord, enlighten me with today’s lesson. Everyone who prays and asks receives what they need. Amen.

Original by Andrew Murray

Revised and Updated by Nathan Zipfel
March 2023


  • Nathan Zipfel

    Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

By Nathan Zipfel

Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

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