1. Why Do We Have to Pray?
God promised us that He would give us whatever we ask in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14). Thus, we can receive from God whatever we need through prayer. Prayer is the key to answers and source of blessings.
Also, because prayer is spiritual breath, those children of God who have received the Holy Spirit must pray to keep their spiritual life and live as children of God. Just as we cannot but die if we do not breathe, if we do not breathe spiritually, we cannot live according to God’s Word, and finally we will not be able to go to the way of eternal life.
Therefore, God’s children who have received the Holy Spirit must start their life in Christ with spiritual breathing, and this is prayer life. We can communicate with God as His children through prayer. We can receive the authority of being His children and receive answers to our prayers to give glory to God. Prayer is the basic of Christians and a must to lead a successful life in Christ.
God tells us the importance of prayer so many times in the Bible. God says it is God’s will to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), that we have to pray not to fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41), and it is sin to stop praying (1 Samuel 12:23).
If we do not pray, which is a duty and right of believers, violating God’s will, we cannot receive God’s help and win the victory against the enemy devil. We cannot lead a blessed life as God’s children either because we do not receive the strength to overcome this world. Thus, God’s children should realize the importance of prayer and give themselves to praying.
2. What Do We Have to Pray For?
The Bible tells us a lot about prayers and receiving answers. Matthew 7:7-8 especially promises us that God would give to those who ask, seek, and knock. Then, let us delve into what we have to ask, seek, and knock in detail.
A. Ask, and It Will be Given to You
Even evil parents would not give a stone when their children ask for bread and a serpent when children ask for a fish. Even though the parents are poor, they would want to give the best things to their children (Matthew 7:9-11). How much more, then, would God, who is love itself, want to give good things to His children?
But because God is just, He acts according to the law of the spiritual realm, which is the Word of God. Namely, He would give only when we ask and when we prepare the vessel to receive. Thus, to receive the answer to what we ask, we should ask according to the Word of God.
God promised us that He would give to those children who ask saying, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Then, let us consider what we have to ask and how we have to ask in detail.
i) Ask for God’s face
After the first man Adam committed the sin of disobedience by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he did not want to hear God’s voice but went away from God. So Genesis 3:8 says, “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
Still, God called Adam and made leather clothes for them, who were hiding from Him due to the fear that they had disobeyed God. Then, God first came to us, who were destined to fall into eternal destruction due to sin, and sent us the way of salvation, Jesus Christ.
So, Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Therefore, to those who open their heart and accept Jesus Christ as the Savior, God gives the Holy Spirit as gift and seal them as His children.
Likewise, it is to ask for God’s face to open our heart, try to know and find who God is, and to want to hear His Word. Even now, God tells us to ask. He wants everybody to ask for His face and become His children.
ii) Ask for His Kingdom and Righteousness
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Here, ‘seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ is to ask for His kingdom and righteousness. What, then, do we specifically have to do to ask for God’s kingdom and His righteousness?
i) Ask for God’s kingdom
God’s will is to let all mankind become God’s children who are going to the way of destruction, and to lead them to go to the way of eternal life. That is why God sent His one and only Son Jesus to this earth and let Him be crucified to redeem us from our sins with His blood. 1 Timothy 2:4 says, “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” and it is because God’s will is to save all mankind and enlarge the kingdom of God. therefore, God’s children should pray for saving souls and evangelizing the world so that all men can come to salvation.
ii) Ask for God’s righteousness
‘Asking for God’s righteousness’ is not to seek perishable and fleshly things to eat and drink, but spiritual things that are needed for the well-being of our spirit. Namely, it is to accomplish God’s righteousness when we get rid of works of the flesh and perishable things of this earth, and on the contrary seek spiritual things to live according to God’s Word and become sanctified. Once we accomplish God’s righteousness and our spirit is well, everything will go well with us and we will be healthy (3 John 1:2).
iii) Ask for duty of God’s worker
After asking for God’s kingdom and His righteousness, we should pray to become God’s worker. And those who are already workers should pray to do their duty. God, who is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, has promised us, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
People try so hard and toil to get a reward and a promotion in their workplace even for this world in which we live just for a while. How much more, then, should we have spiritual desires and ask for them? If we have true faith, we will try to earn the rewards that will be given to us in eternal kingdom of God. Therefore, we should pray to receive a precious duty of God and to perform our duty well as God’s worker, as said in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
iv) Ask for daily bread
Finally, we should ask for our daily bread, namely, things to eat and wear, a house to dwell, blessings in workplaces or businesses, and for our families. When we ask God according to the order that was set by God’s will, we will receive what we ask.
James 4:2-3 says, “Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Therefore, a prayer for one’s own desire, which has nothing to do with God, will never be answered.
Also, Matthew 12:38-39 portrays a scene where scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign, but because they asked with their evil, it could not be answered. We should never ask in this way, and either will it be answered.
B. Seek, and You Will Find
To ‘seek’ is to look for something when you have lost it. Then, what have we lost that God is telling His children to seek?
When God created the first man Adam and Eve, He made them with spirit, soul, and body. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for such a long time, ruling over everything, walking with God, and without having any lack or deficiency. But because they tempted by Satan, disobeyed God’s command, and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their spirit died and their communication with God was disconnected as said in Genesis 2:17, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
What, then, do we have to do to recover the dead spirit?
In order to get rid of the man of flesh and live as God’s children, we should learn the Word of truth and keep it in mind. It is the yolk, which is the most delicious part in an egg. To find this yolk, we must peel off the egg shell and remove the white part. In the same way, in order for us to become men of truth, we have to remove fleshly things one by one and become men of spirit. And this process is the process of recovering our dead spirit.
If an electric system of a big company is broken down, even an electric expert cannot recover it by his own strength. There needs to be a lot of manpower and equipments to recover the whole system.
Likewise, we cannot become men of spirit just by knowing God’s Word. In order to revive the dead spirit and to become men of spirit, we must learn God’s Word diligently, keep it in mind, pray incessantly, and act according to the Word. Through this kind of process, we can become perfect men of spirit. Thus, we have to seek and recover our once dead spirit until it fully revives and is guided by the Spirit.
C. Knock, and It will be Opened to You
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Then, what do we have to knock?
It means that we have to knock on God’s heart. if God’s children who have received the Holy Spirit knock on God’s heart, the almighty God will open the gate of heaven and pour down His treasures. This is what it means by ‘knock, and it will be opened to you,’ and is the answer of God to our prayers.
And these processes of asking, seeking, and knocking can be compared to sowing seeds. For example, once we sow pepper seeds, we have to water it, pull out the weeds, and fertilize the soil to get good harvest. And the sowing the seeds is the process of asking. The process of caring for the crops is seeking, and the process of taking the harvest and eating it is knocking. Therefore, asking, seeking, and knocking are inter-related; they are not done separately.
Thus, when we ask, seek, and knock on God’s heart at the same time, we will receive the answer to the extent that God is pleased in His heart. In order to harvest Ginseng, we need to take care of it for many years. By the same token, when we ask for something big, we can receive the answer when we please God as greatly.
Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Mark 4:8 says, “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” We cannot receive without asking, or harvest without sowing. But since God works according to the time, if we diligently ask, and seek and knock with our actions, we will not be in need.