Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 20 — Ask, Seek and Knock
Matthew 7:7,8, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
The three words, "ask," "seek" and "knock," are not synonyms. They are not three types of praying, nor are they synonymous with the word "pray," but rather, they are three steps to getting answers to prayer.
There are three people that must be moved if we get what we want and need: first, God; second, me; third, others. Each of these words deal with one of these people. "Ask" deals with God; "seek" deals with me; and "knock" deals with others.
The word "ask" has to do with things that only God can give. There is nothing that man can do; God provides these answers by Himself. For example, the power of the Holy Spirit, rain, etc. are answers which only God can give. I have nothing to do with it, neither does anyone else.
"Seek" has to do with some things that God and I can do together. Notice, first I just asked. That was all I could do. Now "seek" is added to asking, which means that there is something I am to do. This would deal with things that I seek from God that God and I do together. An illustration of this would be preaching. I ask God to help me while I preach, but I have to help also. This means God and I labor together. An illustration of this would be farming. Of course, the farmer should ask God for rain, for sunshine, for strength and for other things, but God does not do all the work. The farmer enters into a yoke with God, and he and God become co-laborers.
Then there are some things that require God and me and others. This leads us to the word "knock." This is an endeavor which would require God working, me working and others responding. An illustration of this would be soulwinning. God gives the power and does the saving and convicting. I carry the message, but another must respond. Another illustration would be building a Sunday school class or a bus route or pastoring a church, or for that matter, getting married. Each of these endeavors require the help of God, my own help and a response by someone else.
Consequently, one form of prayer is asking. That's all I do. God must give the answer. Another form of prayer is asking and seeking. God and I are co-laborers in the venture. Another form of prayer is asking and seeking and knocking when God and I join together in a venture which requires the response of someone else. Hence, I am to do all three. In fact, I am to continue at all three, for all of these verbs are in the linear or durative tense. When I need something done that only God can do and that man can have nothing to do with, I must ask and ask and ask and ask and keep on asking, but I must seek and seek and keep on seeking. Then we come to the place where God and I join in a venture which requires the response of someone else. Then I must keep on asking and asking and asking and continue to ask. I must keep on working and working and working and continue to work, which is another way to say I must continue to seek. Then I must keep on knocking and knocking and knocking until other respond. When God must be moved, I keep on asking. When God and I must be moved, I keep on asking and keep on seeking. When God and I and others must be moved I keep on asking and seeking and knocking.
An example would be selling. I must ask God to give the sales. I must seek the customers, and then I must keep after them until I have sold.
Another example would be soul winning. I must ask God for souls. I must seek them, and then I must keep knocking until those who reject decide to accept.
Another example would be rearing children. I must keep asking for God to help my children to turn out right. I must keep seeking this by constant training and teaching. And then I must keep knocking and not give up if they reject.
Another illustration would be that of finding a job. I must ask and continue to ask for God to give me a job. Then I must seek and continue to seek employment, and then I must keep knocking and continue to keep knocking until an employer gives me a chance.
Each of these is vital and necessary to a well-rounded prayer life. One who just asks will not work; one who just asks and works does not persevere and will not succeed, but one who keeps asking and seeking and knocking will know what prayer is really all about.
It is important that we ask as if all depended on God, that we seek as if all depended on us and that we knock as if all depended on others!
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