Ask, Seek, Knock: Why we’ve misunderstood Jesus’ teaching on prayer | Regular Columnists | Premier Christianity

One evening, my wife was reading out the recycling rules and said: “Why not do it right now?” Feeling somewhat aggrieved, I asserted (rather too loudly) that I had already been doing it right, but she cut me off. “No,” she said. “Why not do it right now – the bin lorry is coming early tomorrow morning.” They were the same words, but I’d heard them wrongly the first time. With the correct emphasis, they had a very different meaning. A similar misunderstanding happens when we hear Jesus’ words on prayer: “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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10).   The emphasis we hear is that if we pray we’ll receive what we want, find what we seek and the doors to our goals will open. But this isn’t actually what Jesus is saying. And anyway, it isn’t true in anyone’s prayer life; we don’t always get what we want, however persistently we pray for it.  

Ask, Seek, Knock: Why we’ve misunderstood Jesus’ teaching on prayer | Regular Columnists | Premier Christianity

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