Ask, seek, knock. But until God opens the next door, praise him in the hallway.
Matthew 7: 7-8 tells us:
“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.
But it is the same when the door closes? Or what if He never opens it?
I've been thinking a lot about fervent prayers. Does God want us to beg? What if we ask for something and he shuts it down? Does that still count as an answered prayer? When we ask, do we receive what we want or what God wants for us?
I recently read a prayer in my journal from a while back where I asked fervently for answers and clarity. I almost begged. Who am I kidding, I begged. Of course, I wanted it to go well but more importantly, I just needed clarity.
I was persistent in prayer and desperate in my need.
A lot has changed since I wrote that entry and prayed that prayer. So when I re-read it, I wanted to rip it out. It made me feel angry at first because it didn't go well and it didn't go according to my plan. I thought, "Well that didn't work. I'm different now. This prayer no longer serves me."
And then I realized it DID serve me. It dawned on me that every single thing I had asked for in that prayer was answered. I received the clarity God knew I needed. It just didn't look the way I had hoped or intended. I asked Him to show me a glimpse into my future, to give me strength, to give me a push in the right direction.... I asked God, "Is this the right thing for me? Do you have something better in store?"
Just three days after I prayed this prayer, God showed me my future. He gave me strength to make a tough decision. He pushed me in the right direction. He showed me everything I needed to know. It was like he checked all of the items off my list. Although, it wasn't necessarily the way I had hoped it would go or the way I saw it going in my head. Sometimes God sees our wants but knows better than to give us something we want that isn't part of his perfect plan for us.
Why am I telling you this? Because I feel called to share my encounters with Jesus with all of you. Once I've had one, I've had so many more. It may seem like He is not listening and you aren't getting a response but look closely. Look again. He works all things for good; Even the things that cause sadness, temporary pain or delay.
I'm so thankful He continues to reveal himself to me.
I'm thankful for his practicality and his intentionality. He isn't Santa. He doesn't always give me what I want but He ALWAYS gives me what I need.
And I'll wait even longer to find out more.
I prayed this prayer last night after thinking about all of his purposeful gifts and lessons.
Lord, you know my hopes and dreams. You know the desires of my heart. But just as before, with the things you have asked me to leave behind, I lay my hopes and desires at your feet. I know anything left at the feet of Jesus is safe. I know your plans for me are better than mine. Sometimes I am uncertain and confused but I know You will not take me to places that won't fulfill me and your plan for my life. I trust you. Thank you for making yourself known in my heart. You are so faithful. I know that life's rejections are your protection and direction. Thank you for the closed doors. I let go in peace and look ahead in gratitude.
So I think yes, it's okay to ask (or beg). It's okay to seek and it's okay to knock. But just because He didn't open the door, (or maybe he closed it) doesn't mean he didn't answer the door when you knocked. And if things don't work out according to your plan and He closes a door, thank Him for His goodness and protection. Praise him in the hallway, in the waiting. Another door will open soon and you'll know why the last one was closed.