|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 9, 10. - Or what man is there of you, etc.? Or. Is not what I say true? or - if you think not - what man of you yourselves would act otherwise towards his own son? Our Lord appeals to the experience and natural feelings of his hearers themselves to emphasize the readiness of the Father - "your Father," whose nature you share, and from whom you derive your feelings of fatherhood (Ephesians 3:15) - to grant the prayers of his children. Observe:
(1) Our Lord assumes that our natural feelings are of the same kind as God's.
(2) Our Lord speaks of God's children asking him for gifts (cf. Matthew 5:16, note).
(3) Our Lord does not suggest, "Will he absolutely refuse him?" but "Will he give him something which is an answer in appearance only (a stone for bread, a serpent for a fish)?" i.e. our Lord implies that God's gifts, like an earthly father's to his son, are such as really and completely to satisfy the need which is expressing itself. A blessed encouragement, for he will thus answer the underlying desire, though not necessarily the verbal expression of the prayer. So when Monica prayed that her son might not sail to Rome, God did not grant this, but gave her "the hinge of her desire," for it was Augustine's journey to Italy that was the means of his conversion (Aug., 'Conf.,' 5:15). Bread... fish. The most usual food on the Lake of Galilee (cf. Matthew 14:17; John 6:9; cf. Matthew 4:3, note).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Or what man is there of you,.... "That is a father", as in Luke 11:11 that is, is in the relation, and has the affections of a father; and indeed is a man, and has the nature and passions of a man; unless he is become a mere brute, and devoid of all humanity,
whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? No, by no means; no man can act such a merciless, cruel part as this to a child: for though he might impose upon him by the likeness of some sort of stones with bread; yet could not hope to satisfy his hunger, or stop his mouth this way; but must expect to hear from him again with bitter complaints.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread—a loaf.
will he give him a stone?—round and smooth like such a loaf or cake as was much in use, but only to mock him.
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