Dave Pullin serves as the Director of Technical Arts at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. The Technical Arts ministry handles all audio/visual/technical support for the church including worship services and events.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Honestly, I really struggle with this verse. Although we know that Jesus is not presenting himself as a genie poised to grant us our wishes, I feel that even when I try to align my desires with what I believe to be God’s desires, there is still a disconnect between what I ask for and the response given. There have been many times where I felt that I have pleaded with God for something greater than myself, yet what I asked for was not given, at least in the way I wanted. Be it healing for a loved one suffering from brain cancer; praying for work for a friend who was in his 18th month being unemployed, struggling to support his family with two young daughters; or a single mom coworker who continues to have to fight for the child support her ex refuses to pay–all of these are prayers of mine that I feel weren’t answered, or in any clear way even acknowledged, by God. This left me really doubting the power of prayer.
I don’t claim to be a theologian, and I definitely do not fully understand the intricacies of prayer. I sometimes still wonder if my prayers do any good for those I am praying for. But what I am discovering is that I believe this verse, this story of Jesus teaching us to pray, is more about an invitation to a conversation with God than a description of a transactional process. For example, the more time I spend time talking and listening to my wife, the closer we become, the stronger our relationship grows, the more we both know what the other desires, and the more I strive to meet my wife’s needs.
I think the same is true with God; the more time I spend in prayer (talking to God), giving my concerns and fears over to God, the more my heart is changed to fully depend on God for all of my needs, just like the child referenced in this scripture. A child is completely dependent upon its parents, and a holistic sense of trust is present. I am beginning to think that an unwavering trust and reliance in God is the ultimate goal of prayer, rather than the specific requests we make day in and day out. Perhaps it is more about the condition of my heart, not the tally of my answered versus unanswered prayers. I am still called to pray for others, but I am less attached to a specific outcome, and more concerned about developing a compassionate heart and seeking ways I can be God’s hands and live out my faith. It is about allowing my faith to become like a child again.
Faith can be a difficult thing. Pastor Scott even defined faith as being more than believing in something–faith is trusting in someone without reservation.
There it is again: Trust. Without reservation.
Perhaps what Jesus is talking about is if we ask, we will come to rely solely on God. If we seek, our faith will continue to guide us back to the Creator. If we knock, we will grow to trust that God will always welcome us home.
Trusting someone without reservation is vulnerable, and opens us up to being hurt. Trusting an entity that we cannot see or hear seems even more so. But in my limited experience, when I am able to be vulnerable to God, when I stop trying to do it all by myself, that is typically when God tends to show up, and usually in the most profound ways.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.