"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find ..." Matthew 7:7
Health and wealth preachers have been known to say: "Whatever you ask of God, God will give you. And if God does not give it, your faith isn't strong enough." Nonsense! We have all prayed for things we have not received; sometimes God answers "No" or "Not yet" or "Not in the way you expect."
In his book How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong? Lewis Smedes writes, "Too many people I care about hurt too much to let believing come easy. People close to me get cancer and die too soon; my prayers do not take away the pain or hold back the tolling of the bells. My friends' marriages turn into battlefields and their children go through a hundred mini-hells. God does not do many miracles for my crowd."
In our reading for today Jesus doesn't mean we can get whatever we ask for or seek after. If that were so, prayer would be like rubbing a genie bottle, and our every wish would come true. Note carefully that Jesus says, "How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" God wants us to ask for the Holy Spirit and his good gifts (Luke 11:9-13; 1 Corinthians 12-13). God wants us to ask for things in line with his will (John 9:31; 15:7-8). God also wants us to ask with right motives (James 4:2-3).
Lord, we often seek for the wrong things in life. Give us your Holy Spirit, we pray, so that we may desire the good gifts of peace, joy, and forgiveness. In Jesus, Amen.
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