|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:7-11 Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask, as a traveller asks the way. Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls. Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asketh receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful.
Verses 7-11. - Ask, and it shall be given you, etc. Parallel passage: Luke 11:9-13. Nearly verbally identical, but in the son's request, reads "egg" and "scorpion" for "bread" and "stone," and reverses the order of the sentences. In Luke the verses are closely connected ("and I say unto you") with the parable of the friend at midnight, which itself immediately follows the Lord's Prayer. It seems probable that, as with the Lord's Prayer (ch. 6:9-13, note), so with these verses, the original position is given in Luke; yet, as also with the Lord's Prayer, Matthew's form of the individual clauses may be the more original (cf. ver. 11, note). With the general promise contained in these verses, cf. Mark 11:24. The connexion with the preceding verse is probably not
(1) pray for others who have no apparent capacity for receiving the truths of the gospel (Weiss); nor
(2) in answer to the question suggested by ver. 6, if this be the measure of the Divine dealings, what bounties can sinners expect at God's hands? Let them, nevertheless, ask of God, and it shall be given them (cf. Alford); but
(3) in close connexion with the whole subject from vers. 1-6, you feel conscious of want of wisdom for the true and loving judgment of others without censoriousness - ask for this special grace. With this connexion ver. 12 follows on naturally; i.e. the key to the right treatment of others may be found in one's own feelings and wishes; from the perception of what we desire to receive from others we may learn what others ought to receive from us. Verse 7. - Ask... seek... knock. Gradation in urgency. Further, the three clauses think of the Giver, the sphere in which the gift lies, the obstacles in the way of obtaining it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ask and it shall be given you,.... This is to be understood of asking of God in prayer, for such things as are wanting; whether of a temporal nature, as food and raiment, which Christ, in the former chapter, had warned against an immoderate and anxious concern for; or of a spiritual nature, as grace, and wisdom to behave in a proper manner, both towards God and men: and such, who ask according to the will of God, in the name of Christ, and under the direction, guidance, and influence of the Spirit, who ask in faith and fear, and with submission to the divine will, shall have what they ask for; not as what they deserve, but as a free gift.
Seek, and ye shall find. This is still meant of prayer, and of seeking God, his face and favour: which such shall find, who seek in a right way, by Christ, and with their whole hearts, diligently:
knock and it shall be opened unto you as beggars do, who use much importunity for relief and assistance. So men should stand and knock at the door of mercy, which will not always be shut against them. Faith in prayer is a key that opens this door, when a poor soul finds grace and mercy to help it in time of need. Our Lord's design is to express the nature, fervour, and constancy of prayer, and to encourage to it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you—Though there seems evidently a climax here, expressive of more and more importunity, yet each of these terms used presents what we desire of God in a different light. We ask for what we wish; we seek for what we miss; we knock for that from which we feel ourselves shut out. Answering to this threefold representation is the triple assurance of success to our believing efforts. "But ah!" might some humble disciple say, "I cannot persuade myself that I have any interest with God." To meet this, our Lord repeats the triple assurance He had just given, but in such a form as to silence every such complaint.
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