Matthew 7:7-11 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 “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 what is good to those who ask Him!” NASU
The more I study the Word of God the more I am convinced that Progression and Persistence are interwoven in virtually everything and every truth and principle of the Bible. Some read verse 7 and think that this is simply a three-fold description of prayer or three aspects of prayer but I suggest that it is an expression of Progression and a call to Persistence by our Lord.
It does reflect degrees of prayer. It is within the realm of reason to argue that seeking goes beyond simply asking and the emphatic knocking or pounding on the door goes beyond seeking. You may disagree and that is okay. I suggest that this is a recognition of the progression in prayer and the need for persistence as verses 9-11 reveal. This is amplified in Luke 11 where the writer includes an example of persistence in the words of our Lord before He says the things recorded in Matthew 7. The friend who comes knocking on the door at midnight asking for food or anything does not receive by simply asking but by persistence. He refuses to give up and the depth of his desire and the urgency of his need is revealed to the friend from whom he is making his petition, “asking, seeking, and knocking.”
There are many examples of persistence in the Bible including Luke 18 where the widow’s persistence awarded her a right judgment and the granting of her petition. I do not suggest that God is an “unjust judge” and that we can wear Him out to the point that He gives up and gives in granting our petition. Progression comes from our recognition of the need and the urgency of the matter as well as our ever-growing recognition of our true source, God. Persistence develops a resolve within our hearts that cries out to God, the world, and the devil, I BELIEVE and will not cease UNTIL I have received. In a very real sense, it is inspirational and helps fight off the temptation to grow despondent and plunge into despair.
Persistence focuses on God and is a vehicle whereby we develop faith in the Character of our Lord. It also, by its very nature draws us nearer and nearer to Him thereby developing a closeness with Him. Additionally, it opens the door for God to demonstrate His supernatural power and His Agape Love. It helps us become aware of the spiritual conflict and the spiritual weapons God has provided for us. For some, if the answer does not come quickly they tire of the struggle and give up resigning themselves to defeat. Prayer is warfare! Progression helps us to move through the various levels of the conflict and struggle in life and Persistence is necessary to break through to victory.
How many successful business people do you suppose there are who tried something once and it succeeded? How many do you suppose there are that had to progress from one level to another and persist UNTIL they had their breakthrough? It matters not if it is business, politics, sports, or relationships we move from level to level, dimension to dimension, and if we persist we have the possibility of success and achieving that which we desire. There is a passage in 1 John 5 that stays with me constantly and has become a cornerstone in my prayer life and my approach to the struggles of life. It reads, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” How do I develop confidence that my prayer will be answered? I must determine His will. How do I determine His will? One certainty is that I must PERSIST in His Presence and seek His precepts and purposes in His Word and that is a work of Progression spiritually. Once, I have progressed in my understanding and relationship to the place that I KNOW something is His Will, then no matter what comes I can PERSIST because I KNOW that my requests are being heard in Heaven and if they are being Heard or Received the answer is forthcoming.
What happens if God does not answer immediately? Does that mean He is saying no? Remember Daniel and the angel said, “We heard you the first day, but were opposed by satanic forces.” It was 21 days later that the answer came and we may have to pray 21 years but if we are crying out to God from a pure heart and pray according to His will and purpose quitting is not an option and persistence is mandatory. The words of Galatians 6:9 come to mind where we are encouraged to NEVER GIVE UP. If we are pursuing God’s purposes and praying His plan and purpose (His Will) we must Persist for if we give up and quit, we prevent our harvest from coming. I want God’s Harvest for my life and for yours. THEREFORE, Never, Never, Never, Quit. Pray the Word, Pray the Promises, Pray the Prophecies, and Pray the Purposes of God consistently and persistently.
God, bless you richly is my desire and prayer!