Luke 11:9-10 reads “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)
This passage has always been a little troublesome for me. I love the promise. Ask and you will receive! That’s powerful. I’m just not sure it’s true. Because I’ve been there, done that and it didn’t work. In other words, I prayed for really hard for something and didn’t get the answer I wanted. I doubt I’m alone in that. How many of you have ever prayed really hard for something and didn’t get it? A job, a relationship, a healing, freedom from a particular sin? You asked but didn’t receive, sought but didn’t find, knocked but the door never opened. So how do you reconcile the promise of this passage with the reality of life?
Keep reading! Jesus continues in v. 11-13…“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NIV)
Notice those two words in bold. When Jesus says “ask and you’ll receive” what’s he talking about? How much more will your Father in heaven give you what? The Holy Spirit! Ah-ha!! This promise of answered prayer isn’t a generic one, it’s a specific one. If you ask for the Holy Spirit, you will receive him. Perhaps the reason I’ve struggled to understand this passage is I’ve been asking for the wrong things. I’ve been asking for more of God’s presents rather than more of God’s presence.
So I’m working on changing up my prayer life. Instead of asking for more health, safety, wealth, blessings, success, etc. I’m starting with asking for more of God’s presence. I’m asking for more of the Holy Spirit in my life. More of God. Less of me. And that’s a prayer he’s always going to answer!