The Hidden Life of Prayer, by David McIntyre
Main point summary
The Father will certainly give good things to those who ask.
Matt 7:7–11 Questions
(1) What relationship do the actions of asking, seeking, and knocking share (7a–f)? [a] What is the content—or the nature thereof—beseeched in each proposition (cf. v. 11)? (2) What precise logical relationship do the imperatives (7a, c, e) share with their subsequent responses? (3) Type out in one sentence the logical flow of thought in vv. 7a–8c That is, simply state how vv. 8a–c support vv. 7a–f. (4) Precisely how do vv. 9–10 provide support for vv. 7–8? (5) Precisely how do vv. 9–10 provide support for v. 11? (6) Precisely what is the logic of v. 11 in relation to vv. 9–10? [a] How does Jesus structure his argument in vv. 9–11?
καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν,
and it will be given to you.
and you will find.
καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν•
and it will be opened to you.
πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει
For everyone who asks, receives,
καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει
and [everyone] who seeks, finds,
καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται.
and to the one who knocks, it will be opened.
ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος, ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἄρτον, μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;
Or what man from you, whom his son will ask for bread, will give to him a stone?
ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει, μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;
Or also [if his son] will ask for fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν,
Therefore, if you, being evil, know how to give good things to your children,
πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς δώσει ἀγαθὰ τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν.
how much more will your father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to j him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, k according to the power at work within us, 21 l to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Mark 11:20–24 i As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, j “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have k faith in God. 23 l Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, m ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not n doubt in his heart, but o believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, p whatever you ask in prayer, o believe that you q have received 3 it, and it will be yours.
James 1:2–7 e Count it all joy, my brothers, 2 when you meet trials f of various kinds, 3 for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 j If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God, l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
James 4:3–4You ask and do not receive, because you ask z wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 a You adulterous people! 3 Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? b Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
These verses provide hope for the one praying. How so? Since God knows how to give good gifts to his children, his children ought not doubt (faith in future grace) that they will receive that which they have requested—if indeed they ask for good gifts (cf. v. 11). God commands his children to ask for good gifts because he is the God who knows how to give good gifts and he is the God who will give the good gifts when it is asked for. Therefore, we can pray boldly and confidently that God not only hears our pryaers, but that he will also grant them —provided the thing beseeched is a good thing (cf. v. 11). Ultimately, since Christ is our utmost satisfaction (Pss 65:4; 103:5; 145: 16; Lk 6:21; etc.), when we ask God for gifts, our desire should be that we treasure Christ more through the gift he has promised to grant—as opposed to treasuring the gift itself, since God abhors those who treasure the gift over the Giver (Rom 1:18–32)—if we would only ask. That's the goal. Christ glorified in every gift received.
The Hidden Life of Prayer, by David McIntyre
"If we do not expect to receive answers to our requests, our whole conception of prayer is at fault." Quoting Richard Sibbes, "'We should watch daily, continue instant in prayer; strengthen our supplications with arguments for God's Word and promises; and mark how our prayers speed. When we shoot an arrow we look to its fall; when we send a ship to sea we look for its return; and when we sow we look for an harvest ... It is atheism to pray and not to wait in hope. A sincere Christian will pray, wait, strengthen his heart with the promises, and never leave praying and looking up till God gives him a gracious answer.'" "A sermon preached in Clynnog, Caernarvonshire, by Robert Roberts, was the apparent cause of a widespread awakening in Wales. It is said that a hundred persons were savingly impressed by its delivery. Some days later, a friend of the preacher, John Williams, Dolyddelen, said, 'Tell me, Roberts, where did you get that wonderful sermon?' 'Come here, John,' said Roberts, as he led him to a small parlour, and continued, 'It was here I found that sermon you speak of—on the floor here, all night long, turning backward and forward, with my face sometimes on the earth.'"