Posted by: richard | 25 March, 2008

Ask! Seek! Knock!

Last night we looked at Matt 7:7-12. It’s really an exhortation to come to Father in prayer, reminding us that Father longs to give good gifts to his children. Verse 12 is the ‘golden rule’, summing up the Law and prophets in the command to love.

We noted that the sermon on the Mount can be seen as:

  • Introduction (beatitudes and the headline command to be salt and light)
  • A reminder that Jesus has come to fulfil the Law and the prophets (Matt 5:15)
  • The main body of teaching about the “kingdom lifestyle”
  • The summary that the Law and the prophets can be summed up in the command to love (Matt 7:12)
  • Conclusion (a few final warnings and a final exhortation to put the words into practice)

This section on prayer concludes the main body of “teaching” (point 3 above) and may well be the guide as to how we implement all that has come before. In other words, if the sermon on the Mount is a high challenge, the response is to ask, ask, ask for the strength and grace to live it out. But how often do we ask (i) the Holy Spirit to help us live out this Kingdom lifestyle (ii) for grace to deal with the specifics mentioned here: “help me Lord to serve you and not mammon today” or whatever? We discussed that those who pray very specifically might want to pray for “big picture things” a bit more and those who pray more generally might want to pray for specific elements of the kingdom lifestyle.

It’s not a promise to give us whatever frivolity we ask for, but it isn’t a warning about asking for the wrong things but rather an encouragement to ask for the right things!

It is an injunction to ask, ask, and ask again! Perhaps we just don’t ask enough, and so we don’t receive all that God wants to give us…

I’d like to suggest a piece of homework: spend some time going through the Sermon on the Mount and ask, seek, knock in response to each section. Let’s do what Jesus says here!

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