Prayer: Pursuing God’s Good Gifts
In Mt. 7:7, Jesus tells his disciples to “ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Then, in 7:11, Jesus adds that their Father in heaven will give good things to those who ask him.
What might these good things be? Disciples of Jesus need to be able to focus on the things of God rather than the things of men–pursuing the former, not the latter. In Mt. 6, Jesus has referred to things of men: anxiously pursuing what they will eat and drink (the richest food possible) or what they will wear (the most expensive clothes) as well as other treasures on earth, above all “mammon” (wealth). In contrast to those, Jesus has focused on the good things of God: seeking God’s kingdom (“your kingdom come”) and righteousness (“your will be done”), rightly pursuing simple daily bread for all the heavenly Father’s family and kindly forgiving anyone who sins against them.
To pursue God’s kingdom is to ask for the Father’s kingly power to come and empower good actions of Jesus’ righteousness. Disciples of Jesus who are seeking and asking for these good gifts will be given them, will find them. The Father’s kingly power comes above all through the gift of the Holy Spirit–“to those who ask him” (Lk. 11:13). And Jesus righteousness is found in the fruit of the Spirit: love (that joyfully shares bread and peacefully forgives enemies), the love that includes joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
In Mt. 7:13-14 Jesus contrasts two ways or roads: their gates or doors lead to destruction or “life” in the end. Jesus’ little kingdom of righteous disciples has a narrow gate and road compared to the large kingdoms of earth. Most will prefer the wide gate and easy road of their kingdom of earth and its “righteousness.” Only a few in each kingdom of earth will pursue the narrow gate and road of the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness. The few who find the narrow way will be those who seek it; and the few who find the narrow door will be those who knock at it.