How Should We Pray

Whilst Jesus was teaching his disciples, He came to a point where He was dealing with the issue of prayer and he gave this instruction.

Matthew 7:7-8 MKJV c/f Luke 11:9-10
(7) Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.
(8) For each one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Now, I have known this scripture for many years and I have always been very simplistic about its meaning. Partly because it is such an obvious scripture in the way that it deals with the surety of God answering prayer; partly because of the simplicity of the subject that is covered with such definite terminology that leaves nothing to be doubted; also, partly because it gives such a clear statement about the actions that we need to take that does not lead to confusion. All of this is true, except there is so much in that scripture that it is easy to assume that you know it without looking further.

This scripture leads to an easy assumption that we can either: ask, seek or knock to get the result. Well, there is a truth in that which is obvious. God said it and so there is no doubt about its efficiency. However, that is only part of the truth and it is the remainder of the truth what I want to talk about here.

We all know that for some reason or another we have prayers that have not been answered and it is those unanswered prayers that cause us to doubt our faith; it is those moments of what we might call ‘failure’ that challenge our beliefs. I believe that this is the area that Jesus was addressing with His disciples in this scripture. I believe it is this area where we have not fully understood the truth in God’s word that will lead us to success in our prayer lives.

It is too easy to assume that we have a choice in the tool that we use for the job. Let me explain, if we read this scripture in its simplest way there should be a result whether we are asking, seeking or knocking. This is the area of our misunderstanding. We should not be choosing the tool to use for the job; rather we should be using the whole toolbox. God has made available to us all the tools we need to use to get the job done; we just need to use them all to do it.


When we are faced with a situation in our lives that we know that we need to pray about, we need to ask God for His solution to the problem. There are, in truth, too many times when we have tried to pray for our solution to the problem to work. That is the wrong way to go about it; the right way is to seek the solution from God that will work. Remember that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. For every situation that we find ourselves in, He has a perfect solution that we may never be able to perceive of ourselves.


When we have asked Him for the solution that will work, we are now in a position to start using what He has given us. But just think for a moment, why are we praying about that situation in our lives. Isn’t it normally because we can’t resolve the situation ourselves? Very often the resolution of that situation is outside of our natural ability. This is why we need to seek a supernatural, spiritual ability to resolve the problem. Very often we are praying because that ability is not naturally within us; it is, however, supernaturally within us as the Holy Spirit is within us. It is His interaction that we need to seek.

Whilst Jesus was teaching this to his disciples, he got to this point by teaching first something about seeking which we can see in Matthew 6:33. He taught His disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We do need to be careful that we are seeking the right thing. If we are seeking the power to achieve what we desire, we are missing the point. We are asking the Holy Spirit to satisfy our lusts. However, we are seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, if we are seeking the power to achieve that which He has spoken to us about when we asked. If we do this, we are asking the Holy Spirit to achieve that which God wants. If we are doing this, we have come into unity with God.


Knocking is a tool that we must use to break down the barriers that stand in our way. The devil is not always a pushover who moves out of the way at the very sight of us. Often we need to apply the right amount of pressure to get him to move. However, that is not the only reason why knocking is important to us. It is sometimes necessary for God as well. Knocking is us exercising our faith. It is us being prepared to hold fast to the word of God and not give up before we see the breakthrough. God does test us to see where our faith is form time to time because as a perfect Father, He wants to be pleased with us. Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that without faith it is impossible to please god.

We need to be prepared to use all the tools that God has provided for the task and not just some of them if we want to get the job done.