God’s Answering of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2007-12-24 12:34.

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“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and to everyone who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7, 8; Luke 11:9, 10) These words of Jesus express a general principle. By way of contrast, a request cannot be granted until it is made, the individual who refuses to seek will not find, and the door will not be opened to the person who chooses not to knock.

Illustrating his point about making requests, Jesus raised two questions with an implied negative response. Would a father hand a stone (something resembling a loaf but of no value for nourishment) to the son who asks for bread? Would he give a serpent (a creature that was unclean for food according to the requirements of the Mosaic law) to the son who requests a fish? (Matthew 7:9, 10)

Applying the point made with his questions, Jesus then gave the assurance that, since flawed (literally, “wicked,” “bad,” or “evil”) fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more so would the heavenly Father “give good things to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:11)


Luke’s account (11:9-13) repeats the basic thoughts and mentions them in connection with another occasion during the course of Jesus’ ministry. The two questions are whether a father would give a serpent to the son who asks for a fish or whether he would give a scorpion to the son who requests an egg. Then, instead of mentioning that the heavenly Father would give “good things,” Luke 11:13 says that the Father would give “holy spirit.”

Both Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13 start with the words, “If, then, you, [although] being bad, know how to give good gifts to your children.” The Greek word for “bad,” “evil,” or “wicked” is ponerós and serves to contrast the flawed human with the Father who is holy or pure in the absolute sense. This adds emphasis to Jesus’ assurance that his Father would always give good things to those who ask him.