Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
In writing my new book, Gideon: God’s Mighty Man of Valor, I became intrigued with how continuously Gideon prayed and how connected he was with God. It wasn’t just how often Gideon prayed, also how he reacted after prayer. He had two behaviors that stood out after prayer. The first was Gideon stayed very alert in seeking how God answered him. The second was his immediate action after he received God’s answer.
In other words, Gideon didn’t just constantly pray. He watched and acted as well. As a result, Gideon built a robust partnership with God. The more he prayed, observed, and acted, the easier it became for him to understand God’s directions. Because of my observation of Gideon’s prayer life, I started to ask others about their prayer life.
The more I asked other people, the more varied the answers became. It was as if each person had their own process. For example, my friend Pastor Lou says his prayer life is staying in continuous conversation with God. Lou’s method is supported with the verse in Colossians 4:2, where it says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Later, I asked another pastor, who told me she had a close friend who helped her observe what God told her. Others told me they had a very disciplined process in observation. They looked for three things; was the answer Biblical, was the answer consistent with sound Christian thinking, and was the answer logical.
I also researched what Billy Graham had to say about prayer. He said, “Prayer is more than a wish; it is the voice of faith directed to God.” Faith is a critical message in Billy Graham’s quote. The assuredness God will answer is essential, as it gives us confidence there will be an answer for us to act upon.
Another interesting aspect of prayer was the answers or responses people received from God. All told me the answers with unique. So unique they could only be an answer from God. Sometimes the answers were so startlingly on point; they wondered if it was just a coincidence.
Another critical point was that all the people I talked to told me their prayer life was persistent. And each person’s prayer life had the components of asking, observing, and acting.
In Matthew 7:7, I found a simple explanation from Jesus; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” In Jesus’ statement, I found the three components. First, Jesus tells us to “Ask.” And not just ask, but ask with faith that the prayer will be answered.
Secondly, Jesus says, “Seek, and you will find.” This statement supports the importance of observing.
Finally, Jesus says, “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” A very active expression of our involvement in our relationship with God. A simple message of not being passive but acting when we hear our answers.
It is easy for most to ask, a little harder to observe, and a matter of faith when we act upon the answer we receive.
The people I know who have a great prayer life always have faith the answer to act upon will come. However, they also individually approach the process differently, uniquely individual by individual.
Even in the Bible, there are 63 verses about prayer. Each one is a little different, but all contain some form of asking, seeking, and acting. For each person, at least one of the 63 verses is used concerning their prayer life—another example of how our individual relationships and journeys with Jesus are very different.
And another example of how Jesus meets us where we are.