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Monday, January 23, 2017

Please just answer the door!

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT)
God doesn't string us along in our lives - although we might have formed that perception when we don't get immediate or instantaneous answers to our prayers. Somehow we interpret God's "not right now" as "we will just have to wait and see". Parents are good at using that last one, simply because they want to encourage some type of behavior from their child, or they really need to see if they will have the funds later to be able to do whatever the child is wanting. God doesn't manipulate us into "right behavior", and he certainly has all the resources he needs right at his fingertips, so he probably doesn't use the "we will just have to wait and see" response to our prayers! His "not right now" can seem like an eternity because we hope for answers right now. Going from one job interview to the next, moving higher and higher up the "hiring ladder" with the company seems a little nerve-racking more because of the "not quite yet" you realize when you leave that "next level" of interview. It isn't that they are saying "no", nor are they saying "yes" - they are just saying their is a time and a method to their plan. God has a time and a method to all his plans.
Ask, seek, and knock - three very specific actions. I think God might just have another in the mix - rest. When we have asked all we can ask, sought with all the focus we can direct toward the seeking, and made our need undeniably evident by all our knocking, it may just be time to rest. Rest in the peace he gives - for even in the waiting, we can know rest. God doesn't forget our need, nor does he turn his attention away from our lives. He remains ever-vigilant to prepare the moment when his answer shall be revealed. It isn't always a quick wait - but when we wait in peace we often begin to see his purpose in the waiting a little better. The wait isn't to punish us - it is to refine us. It is to help us see his provision, to appreciate his presence, and to trust his power in our lives.
Ask specifically - God doesn't need lofty prayers, but in being specific in our prayers, we often get to the place of understanding what we are asking. We need the specificity even more than he does! It isn't that we are telling him "how" it is to be done, but we let him know the need and then trust him with the details.
Seek with tenacity - God isn't "making us work for" the answer, but he may look for us to put a little bit of ourselves on the line in the process. I often told my kids I could see they were committed to something by their focused attention toward it - I knew what they wanted was important to them because they were putting forth some effort on their part to obtain it. While God doesn't need us to "make things happen" in our lives, he does count on us revealing a determined focus and a seeking heart.
Knock unceasingly - God isn't deaf, so why must we knock? I think it is the connection we are making that he is after. When we knock, we rap upon the door and then what do we do? We wait. We listen. We are trying to perceive what may behind the door we are rapping upon, right? God might just be helping us to refine our perception of his movement a little when he tells us to knock. Not in that we beat the door down, but in that we listen and begin to perceive!
We aren't idle in our prayers, nor are we "performing to obtain", but we build trust, learn to rest, and develop our perception of his movements just a little clearer when we pray as God tells us to pray. Just sayin!