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. (NLT)
Passages like this are at the same time very encouraging and very puzzling. How good to hear Jesus tell us we get answers to our prayers. How disconcerting it can be when we don’t get the answers we sought.
Then again, not even Jesus got what we asked for when in Gethsemane he asked not to be crucified. And we surely know that not all we ask for is wise and furthers the good purposes of God. Still, we may understandably shake our heads when seemingly legitimate requests are turned down and Jesus’ literal promise to grant our requests does not come true.
Great minds have never fully resolved this matter, but perhaps we can emphasise just one thing. Which is that Jesus promises doors will be opened, and yet we can’t be sure just what doors will be opened. God is perhaps answering our prayers but not in the way we expected. And so we may miss seeing his responses because we are focused on looking in a different direction.
Persistent faithful prayer may well help us align ourselves more with the heart and mind of God so we do end up praying for those things which he is ready to give. But as we continue such a process, we do well to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open to what God is doing in answer to our prayers. He will open doors, but be prepared for them to be different doors.