24 January 2021

Asking God for things – Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

A) We can be confident taking our needs to God (v7-8) …

Jesus encourages us to take our requests confidently to God and they will be answered.

Question 1: What is the context for Jesus making this assurance?

Question 2: Why might we misapply it and what might the consequences be?

Question 3: Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer. The verbs ‘ask, seek and knock’ are in the Greek present continuous tense. Why do you think God might want us to persist in prayer rather than answer our requests when we make them?

Question 4: Are some prayer requests more appropriate than others and what might constitute appropriate vs inappropriate prayer requests (see James 4:3)?

B) … Because we pray to our trustworthy, caring, Father (v9-11) …

Jesus explains that the reason we can pray with confidence is because of who we are praying to – our heavenly Father rather than our flawed earthly parents

Question 5: To what extent do you see God as perfect, loving Father Vs a remote figure? What life experiences influence your answer?

Question 6: What might we do / could we have done differently as parents if we were to emulate our heavenly Father?

Question 7: Jesus promises us ‘good things’ (v11). What do you think these ‘good things’ might be?

C) … As part of an intimate relationship

The closer our relationship with God, then the more our prayer requests will be aligned with His will

Question 8: To what extent does your experience align with this statement?

Question 9: How can we become closer to our heavenly Father, given our busy lives? What has particularly helped you get closer to God or at other times hampered your relationship?

Question 10: How do you react when your prayer requests go unanswered, despite your best efforts to get closer to God and align your requests with His will? How does it affect your relationship with God and your faith?