Prepare to Listen. In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 7:7-12
7Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
Sometimes it’s good to observe how a passage begins and ends. This one begins and ends with familiar sayings—ask, seek, knock…; do unto others…. The beginning is often misunderstood, and the end, the Golden Rule, is repeated so often by so many, we tend to overlook it. Familiarity with these two sayings has meant we often fail to really see them and keep them together.
When disconnected, the ask, seek, knock invitation is easily abused. We’ve met people who think Jesus told us if we ask in genuine faith, we’ll get whatever we want. They’re like the singer who sang, “O Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz…. I’m counting on you so don’t let me down.” Is this what Jesus meant? James didn’t think so and warned us about asking “wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.” Those requests will be ignored, he said (James 4:3).
Ask, seek, knock is an invitation from Jesus to pray boldly. When we do with his words, In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, front and center, our praying will move beyond requests that pander to our self-centered pleasures. This doesn’t mean we’ll never ask for stuff for ourselves. Read again the prayer Jesus taught us. Not only are we to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven but also for what we need in the here and now, like our daily bread. Take Jesus at his word. Be bold and ask, seek, knock. And be humble, considering others, doing for them as you would have them do for you.
How can the Golden Rule shape your bold prayers?
Respond in Prayer
Lord, train me in prayer that is bold in asking, and also unselfish, concerned with what those around me need today. Amen.
Live Obediently. Pray boldly with others needs in mind.
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Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.