Ask, Seek, Knock
And it Will Be Opened
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Call to Worship: 1 Chronicles 29: 10-13 10 Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly: “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!
We have reached the end of yet another year-365 days have passed by. What did we do with those days we were given? How did we spend them? How did we invest ourselves in them? How did we honor and glorify God with those days? No doubt there were joyful moments of celebrations of all kinds and times of sorrow or difficulty we each faced in some way. A lot can happen in a year.
You know it’s not about having monumental, earth-shattering moments every day, for that is not real life and that’s not how God created us to live. Every 365 days we are given consists of many seemingly mundane, insignificant, unnoticed moments of doing often little things that don’t on the surface seem to make a big impact for His kingdom and can leave us feeling dissatisfied or even discouraged with what we accomplished when we look back. But I want to tell you today, that those moments are noticed and are significant to your Father in Heaven who sees you, and more so, sees your heart. So if your heart is joyful because you are fixing your thoughts on Him; your heart is in worship of Him whether you are folding laundry, cleaning up after pets, taking care of animals on the farm, fixing vehicles, caring for a loved one in need over and over again, making a phone call to check on a friend, Helping someone who is grieving, preparing meals for your family, repairing or restoring your home, doing your homework, coming to church, quietly reading your Bible, or spending time in prayer…He sees and it all matters. It’s all significant.
We have a lot more seemingly small events in our days than we do big ones. I want to encourage you to take time today and tomorrow and reflect on all the ways you spent your days this past year. Did you worship the Lord as you carried out your seemingly mundane tasks repeatedly? If so, then know they were not mundane at all but to glorify God in how you love and serve others. If you had goals to accomplish something and it was not met, that doesn’t make your year unsuccessful. Maybe like me, you were trying to force a timeline that was not God’s and His timing is still right on schedule. Look back on how you filled your days. Were you serving God and others? Did you have joy in doing so? Were you seeking God and spending time with Him? Then there is much to give thanks for and rejoice in.
If we base our joy on our performance and accomplishments, we can become discouraged quickly when things aren’t progressing as we want them to be. This can also affect our faith, because we connect it to works we do or don’t, and begin to feel unworthy or doubt God’s love if things aren’t lining up how we want them to. Remember joy is not dependent on our accomplishments and performance Thank You, Jesus! Joy comes from Him who lives in us. So we have the joy of the Lord as our strength every day to draw from no matter where we are on our set timelines and no matter how we perform. But we must understand this and maintain the right understanding.
As we started 2023, we embarked on a year-long focus of Taking Hold of the Promised Land. We looked to Joshua who led the Israelites across the Jordan River into many battles with the inhabitants of the land on the opposite side that God had declared was given to them as their inheritance. It was already theirs, but they had to take hold of it. And they did and as they went into battle with faith in God’s promise and His favor with them, they were victorious every time. His hand was upon them and He was calling them to trust and step out in faith to take hold of that which He had given them.
He is doing the same for us and this is what we were doing all this past year, learning to take hold of all that has already been given to us; all of God’s blessed promises. I have seen some wonderful steps of faith this past year. It’s been a fun journey to walk together! Maybe you made huge leaps this past year or maybe you just took a few small steps-dipping your toe into the living waters to see how God will show up. If you made steps forward, good for you! Look back and see where God met your faithfulness and keep walking; keep going and trust He will be there with every step you take. Maybe you stayed back and you’re on the original side yet you never crossed the Jordan out of fear of leaving what was comfortable or doubting what lay ahead. I want to encourage you to step into the water now and trust God will stop the waters from flowing so you can cross safely. You must move forward to take hold of all He has for you. Take time to reflect on the steps you made this past year and rejoice in those, be it many or a few. Thank God for guiding you and watching over you as you continue to step out in faith. Ask Him to help you step out even more into the territory He has given you as a child of God. He will surely do it as you ask Him.
This is the key and how we will focus on closing out our year- ASKING God for that which we need and that which our heart greatly desires. SEEKING Jesus all the more and building our relationship with Him, as the way and the One to the Father who gives generously, and practicing persistence in that which we ask for because our God cannot resist a faithful and persistent heart. Today we’ll focus on prayer as our main vehicle to commune with God and how we are to pray. Jesus teaches us, so let us listen and let us follow His model.
Luke 11:1-13 NIV
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
- Ask the Father.
We are to ask for what we need. How many times are you struggling with something in life but you don’t go to God and simply ask for that which you need? We are not meant to suffer through life alone. Here’s something to ponder: we don’t get any prizes at the end of our lives for being the most stubborn or independent. No, I did it all by myself award handed it out! No awards for being prideful and never asking anyone for help. But there are certain rewards given for being a faithful servant, for trusting and following Jesus, and living by faith. We are given the crowns of life and we are showered in praises by our Father when we stand before Him.
So we are taught to ask the Father; ask for His help and let go of our foolish pride.
James 4:2-3 NASB You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.
There are two messages in this Scripture. One, we don’t have things (the blessings and favor of God) because we simply don’t involve Him and ask Him for His help and blessing. All we need to do is come to Him and ask for what we need and trust He will provide it in His perfect way. Two- sometimes we don’t receive that which we’re asking for, because the motive of our heart is wrong. We’re asking to glorify self or to fulfill some fleshly pleasure. Let’s look at the prayer again that Jesus taught and what we are to focus on.
Luke 11: 2-3 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread.
We start with our focus on God-honoring Him, blessing His great name, and praying for the advancement of His kingdom, not building our kingdom. This is a prayer request and heart motive God will eagerly respond to. We also pray for just what we need each day-remaining humble and trust God will provide what we need in the days to follow also. We trust when we pray for God’s will to be done and His kingdom to be manifested here on earth, beginning in you, He will surely bless you in unexpected ways and the results will be good.
Luke 11:13 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Look at what God gives us when we ask with the right heart posture and motive-the Holy Spirit! There is no greater gift we can receive than to be filled with the Holy Spirit and learn to walk in the Spirit more and more. For the Spirit is life and peace. Nothing else we can chase after in this world will satisfy like the infilling of the Holy Spirit. And we are not to quench the Holy Spirit-mean keep Him held back or cut off from moving in us.
So as Jesus stated, if we thought we were evil- having a sinful nature- know to do good things to care for our children, why would we think any less of our Father in heaven who is the essence of good? In Him, there is no evil or darkness. How much more does He desire to shower us in good things, if we simply share what we need? He knows our needs even before we ask. So maybe you think, I shouldn’t have to ask then He should just provide. But God gives us free will. He won’t force Himself or His blessings upon us, but He greatly desires to share them and provide care for us. He wants us to come willingly to Him and see Him as a loving Father, inviting Him into our lives and asking for what we need.
Jesus tells us to Ask the Father; to bring every care, concern, and desire before Him and allow Him to work in our lives to His glory and praise. When we do this, we don’t have any need to fret or be anxious because we know God is good and all that He does is good.
Philippians 4: 6-7 NASB 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
To ask the Father for our needs, we must cultivate our relationship with Christ.
- Seek Jesus.
John 14:6 NKJV 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The only reason we can pray and commune with God is because of Jesus and His sacrifice for our gain. Because of His bloodshed, we have been redeemed from our sin and because He imparted His righteousness to us, we can stand justified before our Holy God.
Ephesians 1:7 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
We must remember it is through Jesus we have access to the Father. The closer we are to Jesus, the closer we are to the Father for they are one and in Christ and we are also one. The more we know the Lord, the more we understand and desire to bring about the will of God. The more our prayers shift into the model prayer Jesus taught Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. This is what we begin to desire more and more. When our heart aligns with the Father’s heart, Jesus says come boldly before Him and ask for that which you want. Ask in the name of Jesus and He will surely accomplish it.
John 14: 13-14 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
When our prayers bring glory to God through His Son, it is a certainty He will hear and respond.
Luke 11:4 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
This is what Jesus is teaching and asks for your heart to be purified before God, for your sins to be forgiven and righteousness to fill you; but also come freely forgiving others who have wronged you, so we can receive God’s forgiveness. Ask for prayers to steer you away from temptations and to walk in holiness. These are all prayers we can bring boldly before God for it is His heart’s desire also. He’s calling us to holiness.
Then we see Jesus teaching us something that seems opposite to what many of us have been taught.
- Knock Persistently.
Luke 11:8 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Shameless audacity moved the neighbor to action.
Luke 11: 9-10 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
We are to approach God with shameless audacity? Have you been taught not to bother God with the little things He has more important things to deal with.
I want you to hear from Christ Himself, what God desires from us. This is from God, regarding our relationship with God. Shouldn’t we listen to God directly over anyone else, over our reasoning, and follow what He says is right and good?
We have an invitation from Christ to ask with shameless audacity for that which we need and desire-assuming our heart is pure and in alignment with the will of God- ASK. SEEK. KNOCK. Keep knocking at the door and trust Jesus will answer it and unlock the great mysteries your heart desires to know; He will show you the wonders of His kingdom; He will grant you wisdom and counsel to help you in every season of life; He will make a way in your wilderness; He will show you the great plans He has for you; He will reveal hidden treasures in His Word and let you encounter Him through the Holy Spirit…as you ASK and SEEK for more.
What do you want? What do you need? What are you hoping for? Deep within you- what is it? Do you ask for these things to come about? Do you listen to God’s counsel on how to bring them about? He will show us the way to manifest His blessings in our life and He is asking for us to step out in faith and walk the path He lights for us. It is by faith we receive His blessings.
Hebrews 4:16 NLT 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
When we pray and ask, let us believe He is the Great I AM, and let us pray with confidence that He hears and let us be patient trusting He works all things for good in His perfect timing. Let us come before God with big, bold prayer requests-prayers to increase our desire to know Him more, to understand the secrets hidden in His Word, to see Him truly as our Lord and to be filled with joy and peace as we serve Him and others to His glory, to love others as He loves them. Let’s remember as we pray the Lord’s prayer to pray for His kingdom to come and be manifest here on earth as it is in heaven beginning with me. Let us pray for help to forgive those we don’t want to and to help us walk in humility. Let us look to the example of the prayer taught by Jesus and see what audacious requests we are making before God and boldly believe He will do it as our heart desires it.
Conclusion: As we close out this year, let us freely surrender and let Jesus be who He is, Lord of our lives. Let us boldly ask to encounter the wonders of God’s kingdom; to see secrets revealed in His Word, and to know the riches of God’s love yet discovered. As we come to Him with a seeking heart, He will open the door to life and peace. Let us boldly walk through it and take hold of the promised land already given to us.
Psalm 40:16 But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
Let’s pray the Lord’s prayer.
Holy Spirit as we enter a new year please remind us of your presence in the year ahead, even when life is busy. We are so thankful that we serve a God who makes things new and gives us the grace of fresh starts and new beginnings. God Almighty be glorified in our lives this year. In Jesus' name, Amen."
May the New Year bless you with unwavering faith that guides your steps, illuminates your path, and fills your heart with hope and strength throughout the year ahead.
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.