Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Today’s verse highlights the paradox of Christian prayer. On the one hand, we are matter-of-factly told that if we ask, it shall be given. This accords with the general teaching of Christ that we are not to blather on with “many words” in order to impress God with our eloquence. On the other hand, the verse also teaches that we must not only ask, we must seek and knock. This accords with Christ’s other teaching which demands that we be persistent in prayer and never give up. How do we reconcile the command to be confident that “it will be given” with the command to be persistent when it is not given? The answer probably lies in what the “it” is that we are asking for. For ultimately, what we are seeking is the Holy Spirit, not a pot of gold or a new car. Much of our prayer life consists in discovering what it is we are really praying for when we begin by praying for some bit of useless ephemera. As St. Paul says, we don’t know how to pray. The task of prayer, as often as not, is to find this out and then ask the Holy Spirit to “open to us” what the real desire of our heart is. Today, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray. That is a prayer God always answers.