Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
We are in the final weeks of Lent, and if you are like me, you are trying to be faithful to your Lenten disciplines with varying amounts of success. Now is not the time to “throw in the towel.” Let’s use the remaining time of Lent as a unique opportunity to spend additional time in prayer to ask, seek, and knock in accordance with Matthew 7:7-11. As we do this, let’s expect our Heavenly Father to touch us deeply as we come to him with humble, contrite, and grateful hearts. Let’s expect a deeper outpouring of his love and healing upon us. Let’s expect to be transformed more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus.
Ask, seek, and knock. These are action verbs that Jesus used to describe how he wants us to relate to our Heavenly Father. Notice, too, that Jesus didn’t put any limits or qualifiers on these words. He didn’t say to ask the Father for something only when we are in trouble or distress. He didn’t say to seek the Father only when we feel that we have lost our way. He didn’t say to knock only when we feel that all other doors have been closed to us! We can ask, seek, and knock at any time, even when things are going just fine!
The promise of the gospel is that we can be in touch with our Father throughout the day, no matter how bad—or good—a day we are having. Are things going great? Terrific! Thank God and ask him to be with you even more. He wants to do so much for us, not just help us out of a jam. Wouldn’t a good father want to encourage his children, provide for them, and form them at all times, not just during the tough times? So why should we think any less of—or expect any less from—our Heavenly Father?
Lent is a good time to open up our whole lives to the Father, not just those areas that may need healing or those paths that need redirection. At times, it can be so hard to accept the fact that God loves us and wants the absolute best for us, but it is true nonetheless!
So turn to your Father today and ask him to shine his light in all areas of your life. Ask him to give you even more growth in your talents and abilities or for new insight into those areas that are going well and those that are not. Knock on the doors of new opportunities for witnessing to him in your family, at work, and in your neighborhood. Seek even more spiritual growth, unity, and peace in your family and within your parish, even if everyone is getting along already. He is a generous Father who delights in giving good gifts to his children.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and care. I open my life fully to you. Fill me with more of your grace and your presence, and help me to grow in ways that are pleasing to you. Use me to bring your love and your mercy to others. I want to be more like your Son.”
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/ ) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scripture verses at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
2. How have you tried to open your life more fully to your Heavenly Father and Jesus during this Lenten season? What steps can you take to open yourself even more deeply to their love and healing between now and Easter?
3. The article says that, “We can ask, seek, and knock at any time, even when things are going just fine!” How well do you do this? How can you improve in doing this?
4. How would you describe your image of your Heavenly Father? Is it the image of God the Father in Matthew 7:7-11, that is, a loving father who delights in giving good gifts to his children? Or is it one of a stern taskmaster, a cop in the sky, or of an indifferent father? If any of these latter images ring true to you, are you willing to have some trusted Christian men pray for you to be healed of these mistaken images, especially if they come from your relationship with your earthly father? If not, why not?
5. We hear these words in Matthew 7:11: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” What good gifts would you like to ask your Heavenly Father for during this Lenten season of grace? With expectant faith, add these to your times of prayer during Lent.
6. Take some time now to pray for the grace to know and experience more deeply the great love of your Heavenly Father. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.