Good morning! Every so often, we need to hear from other faithful voices of the past. Let’s hear from J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) on Matthew 7:7-11:
The last lesson contained in this passage is the duty of prayer, and the rich encouragements there are to pray. There is a beautiful connection between this lesson and that which goes before it. Would we know when to be “silent,” and when to “speak”—when to bring forward “holy” things, and produce our “pearls?” We must pray. This is a subject to which the Lord Jesus evidently attaches great importance. The language that He uses is a plain proof of this. He employs three different words to express the idea of prayer. “Ask.” “Seek.” “Knock.” He holds out the broadest, fullest promise to those who pray. “Everyone who asks, receives.” He illustrates God’s readiness to hear our prayers, by an argument drawn from the notorious practice of parents on earth. “Evil” and selfish as they are by nature—they do not neglect the needs of their children. Much more will a God of love and mercy attend to the cries of those who are His children by grace.
Let us take special notice of these words of our Lord about prayer. Few of His sayings, perhaps, are so well known and so often repeated as this. The poorest and most unlearned can tell you, that “if we do not seek—then we shall not find.” But what is the good of knowing it, if we do not use it? Knowledge which is not improved and well employed—will only increase our condemnation at the last day.
Do we know anything of this asking, seeking, and knocking? Why should we not? There is nothing so simple and plain as praying–if a man really has a desire to pray. Sadly, there is nothing which men are so slow to do—as sincere secret prayer. They will use many of the forms of religion, attend many ordinances, do many things that are right—before they will do this. And yet without this, no soul can be saved.
Do we ever really pray? If not, we shall at last be without excuse before God—unless we repent. We shall not be condemned for not doing what we could not have done—or not knowing what we could not have known. But we shall find that one main reason why we are lost is this—that we never asked that we might be saved.
Do we indeed pray? Then let us pray on, and not faint. It is not lost labor. It is not useless. It will bear fruit after many days. That promise has never yet failed, “Everyone who asks, receives.”