The Powerful Meaning of Matthew 7:7 (ask and it shall be given unto you)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 

What does Matthew 7:7 mean? Can we ask God anything and he will give it to us? Most of us know that’s not true because we’ve tried; we asked for one million dollars and we didn’t get it. And that’s because God isn’t some cosmic genie that grants every one of our wishes. 

The meaning of Matthew 7:7 is often missed because we just read it at surface level. But these words from Jesus are an incredible teaching on the importance of prayer. In this blog post we are going to dive into these words and see what they really mean and how they apply to our lives today.

The Context Of Matthew 7:7

In Matthew 5 – 7 we find Jesus’ most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount. Throughout this message Jesus teaches about how life and faith really work. What he says is shocking, countercultural, and different than any other religious leader in his day. In essence what Jesus does in these chapters is paint what a true disciple looks like. 

In Matthew 7 he gives the instructions to not just hear the word but to act upon it. A major focus is on God the father, and that he wants to provide for his children. Therefore we should not only listen to what he says, but also present our requests to him for what we need. 

This is what Jesus is primarily talking about in the section of scripture we are looking at in Matthew 7:7-14. Jesus commands his followers to ask God with confidence for what they need. He describes God as a good father who is eager to provide for his children. 

The verse we are looking at in this blog post is what kicks off this section. Let’s dig a little deeper into the meaning of Matthew 7:7 and see what we can learn. 

The Matthew 7:7 Meaning 

Now that we’ve looked at the context, let’s dive into the Matthew 7:7 meaning. To help you better understand this verse I’ve broken it down into three sections. 

Ask And It Shall Be Given

Ask and you shall receive… many have taken this opening phrase and turned God into a cosmic genie of sorts. Believing that God will serve us however we want. That’s the prosperity gospel, and it’s not true, nor is that what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7:7. 

The teaching of ask and receive is telling us that we should approach God regularly to ask for our needs. And it also reveals God’s heart towards his children; he wants to give good gifts. 

Mark Moore says this about Matthew 7:7: “This implies several things. (1) He wants to give us good gifts. (2) We can approach him personally and persistently (as the present imperatives of ‘Ask, seek, knock’ imply). And (3) if we ask for something harmful, or if we ask with selfish motives (James 4:2–3) or without faith (James 1:6–8), God is not bound like Aladdin’s genie to grant our whimsical requests. He will grant our request as he deems best. Sometimes God’s answer is ‘Yes,’ sometimes it is ‘No,’ and sometimes, ‘Wait.’ ”

Because God cares for us he will give us what is best for us. Sometimes that might be a “no” to our prayers. But it’s what is best for us even if we can’t see it from our vantage point. 

Seek And You Will Find

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.” First Jesus says “ask,” and then follows it up with “seek.” Asking refers to presenting a request; seeking refers to something more persistent. 

In other words Jesus is saying that we aren’t to give up, we keep seeking. Don’t just ask once, but continually seek. Those who seek will find. 

This verse is rising in intensity, and it’s almost a poetic arrangement. Jesus is teaching his audience the importance of continually going to God for their needs. 

Knock And The Door Will Be Opened To You

Ask, seek, and knock. This is the progression that Jesus tells his followers of Jesus to follow. These words imply content action; in essence Jesus is saying we ought to continually do these things. 

Dr Tom Constable says it this way, “We could translate them, ‘Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.’ However, no matter the level of intensity with which we seek God’s help, He will respond to every one of His disciples who calls to Him.’ ”

Again, this isn’t some formula to get what we want from God. God hears and answers our prayers because he deeply cares for us. But that doesn’t mean we will always get what we want. God knows what we need before we ask, and sometimes what we think we need isn’t actually what’s best for us. 

When we ask, seek, and knock we can be assured that God hears our prayers and is working in ways we cannot see. He will do what is best for his children. Prayer often produces in us a perspective that allows us to receive God’s blessing. In essence, prayer changes our hearts more than it changes God’s. 

How The Meaning Of Matthew 7:7 Applies To Your Life 

The application from the Matthew 7:7 meaning is clearly to pray. We should ask, seek, and knock. Not just once, but continually. 

I love how Mark Moore sums it up in his book The Chronological Life Of Christ, “Our prayer lives are a better barometer of our belief in this text than is our confession. Do you believe that God is a good Father? Then you will pray. Certainly no human father would trick his children by giving them a rock that looked like a roll. Nor would he give them a snake or an eel that looked like a long skinny fish. God is comparable to a perfectly loving Father, a concept generally foreign to Jewish prayers. Isaiah 49:15 also compares God to a caring mother: ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’”

God will always give his children good things. Just as a child goes to their parents for their needs, we should go to God for ours.

So, pray. Go to God, then go again, and again, and again. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking. There will be times God will say “no” or “wait,” but that is because he knows what is best for us. Go to God and see what he has for you. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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