Tag Archives: seek the Lord

The A.S.K. Principle

Matthew 7:7-8

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Warning: This post is bound to be a commercial for the book by the same name. Since I wrote that book, I guess it’s all right if I pull a few things from it to write this post. After all, the principle is derived from these very verses.

There are some verses that we have all heard and have all thought we understood them all our lives. These verses are probably on that list. I looked in 25 different translations of the Bible, and they all use the same three verbs – ask, seek, knock. 30 years ago I was studying in Matthew and took notice of the fact that the acronym formed by these three words is ASK. I studied out each word carefully and came up with the original notes of a Bible study I called “The A.S.K. Principle.” Jesus was a master at using as few words as possible to get His pint across, and He always chose His words very carefully. It is no fluke that He chose these three words in this order. Asking is the key to answered prayer. Plain and simple.

Most likely you are saying to yourself “Well Duh.” Everyone knows that! I would say that is true, but does everyone know exactly what it means to ask, seek and knock? Do each of you follow out what scripture says about each one of these words? The essence of answered prayer is found by looking at each of these words carefully and seeing what the scripture reveals. That is what my book does. But I am not going to go through all 200 pages in this post. This will be the Cliff’s Notes version.

The first step is to ask. The word ask in the Greek is actually continue asking. It is not asking once and receiving an answer although this does happen occasionally. I hear way to many preachers preaching that if we have faith, we will only have to ask once and I vehemently disagree. They use scriptures like John 14:14 (If you ask anything in my name I will do it), Matthew 18:19 (If any two agree it shall be done), Mark 11:23 (if you tell this mountain to move and have faith it will be done) and Luke 17:6 (If you have faith like a mustard seed you can move a mountain). Yes, Jesus said all of these things, and He always spoke the truth. Many take this to mean when we ask, God should do it right away.

But Jesus also said If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done (John 15:7). In John 14:14, which we shared in the previous paragraph,. Jesus says we must ask in His name. Asking in His name means according to His word. In John 15:16 Jesus says that when our fruit remains the Father will answer our prayers. James said we often ask to heap things on our own lusts and this causes our prayers not to be answered. John said If we ask anything according to His will it shall be done (1 John 5:14).

The body of scripture needs to be taken together if we want to see our asking be more effective. Will God instantly bless prayer? Of course He will, if it is His will to do so. We often get to the point that we think God should fit into our timetable and do what we want. It does not work that way. He is in control, and He can do anything He wants. We can come to Him with our request and He will decide which ones to answer now and which ones to answer later. He will decide exactly how He will answer and it may not be what we expect. No matter what, we should honor Him and glorify His name.

Seeking is next. Once again, we do not seek once but continually. There are many ways we can seek the Lord. It is a necessary step to bring about answered prayer. We seek God by searching through His word. Many times the answer to our prayer is in His word already. If we are not familiar with scripture, we will not know that our answer has already been given. Seeking can also be done when we are praying or praising. Both of these are crying out to God and looking for His mercy and grace. We can seek God through meditation. This type of meditation is not thinking about His word or some song. It is just putting Him in His rightful place in our lives and trying to find His presence within us.

There are many verses that tells us to seek the Lord. They all say He shall be found if we seek Him. Do you find that true? When you take time to seek Him, is He always right there with you? The key to finding God when you are seeking Him is humility. If we come to Him boldly, we may not find Him. Now you will probably quote Hebrews 4:12 to me now. It says Come boldly before the throne. I have heard this verse used many times to justify demanding things of God. But the rest of the verse says we can come boldly if we seek mercy. When we do, we will find grace so that we might help others in there time of need. In other words, we don’t come boldly to Him to fulfil our lusts.

Hosea 10:12 says we must break up our fallow ground before we seek the Lord. Our hearts have many hard areas and they need to be broken in order to effectively seek the Lord. Once again, we see brokenness as a key to seeking the Lord. Zephaniah tells us to seek righteousness and meekness. Seek to do right and seek to be meek. Meek is a form of gentle nature which sees God in control, not me. In Matthew 6:33 we are told to seek the kingdom first. How many times do we come to God seeking things for ourselves instead of the kingdom? How any times have we gone about seeking Him in all the wrong ways/ If we want to find Him, let’s start seeking as the word tells us to.

The las step is knocking. The knocking is the waiting. Continue knocking, continue waiting. This is one of the largest keys too answered prayer. It is being patient and waiting on the Lord. It is allowing God to answer in His time, not ours. He promises to answer over and over in His word, yet we fold when we do not have the answer in five minutes. I can guarantee God will answer your prayer every time if you will just wait on Him, continue to ask and seek carefully.

In Matthew 26:38-44 Jesus tells the disciples to watch and pray. This watching is the same as waiting. He told them to do this for themselves, not for Him. He said they should watch so they would not fall into temptation. They did not do so well, and all of them left Him when the guards came. John is the only one mentioned to be near the cross. In James 1:2-4 we are told to count it joy when trials come. Why? Because when our faith is tried our patience is built. That patience perfects us. Therefore, in the midst of our trials, we use our faith to build patience – waiting!

Then of course there is Isaiah 40:31. They that wait upon the Lord – you can probably finish it on your own. Waiting will actually make us stronger. It will give us more stamina. It will help us soar above our problems like an eagle soars high in the sky. This will enable us to wait longer. We don’t like to wait. We are in a microwave generation that wants everything now. But if you are really serious about having a more effective prayer life, waiting is essential.

Asking, seeking and knocking. Sounds so easy doesn’t it? In reality, it is. Mastering prayer takes a lifetime of practice. The Lord’s direction in putting together “The A.S.K. Principle” has helped me see all the shortcomings of my prayer life. I am sure it will be a great addition to your library as well. If you would like your own copy, it is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and E-book format. Or you can get a signed copy from me by emailing me at pete@theaskprinciple.com. Read it and pass the word if you find it helpful!

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Seek First

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

It is so easy to get my priorities messed up. It seems life throws things at me so quickly I have trouble deciding what should come next. Even now, when I am not working full time, my time is in high demand from so many projects. It seems I flutter around like a honeybee goes to various flowers, trying to get a little from each one to take back to the hive. He never spends too long on one flower, and wants to get to many flowers before he heads back. This is me, project after project, one at a time for short amounts of time.

I have considered setting up some kind of schedule now that I am home all day, but have not come to any determination on that. The following things would have to fit into that schedule:

respond to email
respond to text messages
writing projects which include
Poetry when the Lord gives me something
This blog from the sermon on the mount
My next book project, which is about my cancer battle
Working on the maps that I update (this is my paying job right now)
Building my web site
Worship service for church each Sunday – this has several pieces:
Choosing the songs
Pulling sheet music
Printing up a word sheet (we do a lot of choruses)
Power point for the big screen
Checking Facebook
Taking care of our puppy – inside and out (he does not like to be left outside)
Fixing meals (my wife works 2 jobs, so I fix most meals for my granddaughter and me)
Laundry
House cleaning
Grocery shopping

Now, let’s see, what am I forgetting? Oh yes, time with God. How could I forget that!

It’s easy to see how I could forget that with all the other things I try to work on each and every day. I am not even working again yet, and I am lost in a sea of constantly doing something. What is going to happen when I get back to my job as an independent insurance agent for Aflac? How will my time work out then?

Believe me, if I could afford to, I would not go back to work. God has blessed me with the ability to write, and much of that will have to be forfeited when I am on the road again. I can’t see how I will have the time. Right now, my days goes from 4:30 to 9:30 or 10 each day. I do take about 20 minutes each morning to spend in the word, dong a bible study with a friend of mine. We work out of the same book and text our thoughts back and forth, with a little prayer, every day. I am utilizing scripture many times in my writing through the day. My mind is on Him, praying or just meditating even as I go through my daily tasks. But is this putting Him first? Is my schedule designed to make sure God gets priority in my life each day? I am inclined to say no, it is not. I am inclined to think I should make a more precise schedule which would keep me on task each day. It might look something like this:

4:30-5:30 – Time in the word. Praying, reading, meditating on God and His words
5:30-6:15 – Take out the dog and check email, play a couple games
6:15-7:15 – Breakfast and time with my wife watching news
7:15-9:15 – Working on maps
9:15-9:30 – take a break
9:30-10:30 – Chores and errands, take dog out
10:30-11:30 – work on maps
11:30-12:15 – fix lunch for my wife and I
12:15-1:15 – writing
1:15-3:15 – work on maps
3:15-4:30 – email, games, talk with a friend, take dog out
4:30 – 5:00 – time with wife between jobs
5:00 – 6:00 – fix and eat supper
6:00 – 8:00 – work on maps or write
8:00 until bedtime – relax, take dog out

Would this work? Maybe. Maybe I should try it. I never have scheduled myself that thoroughly. I have some elements missing even from this. Exercising, whether it’s walking or riding my bike, will have to be fit in once the weather improves around here (March). More time with the Lord is something I need to work on and there is no room for that. Poems come up at all sorts of time and I need to write them down when God gives them to me or I’ll lose them. Phone interruptions come often.

And what will happen if and when I get back to my Aflac work? All this goes out the window and has to be condensed down to early morning and late evening hours. Aflac has to take primetime from 8 to 4 or 5 each day. Then there will be paperwork to do at night. It will all become quite a blur. I have thought about just ding Aflac part time but if I did it would not provide the income I need right now.

Why do I tell you all this? It is simply to say that life is busy for all of us. I am not working full time and I don’t have the time for anything extra. Much of this stuff that I do now I was not doing before I came down with cancer and stopped working Aflac. God has repurposed my life. Now I need to find ways to put Him first amidst the chaos of my day. How do I do that? How do you do that?

If you don’t schedule like the above (which I don’t) it is still critical that you do schedule time with God each day. It can be anytime of day you desire, but I recommend first thing in the morning. There are several reasons for this thinking:

If you don’t take time now and you are busy, you can just set your alarm earlier to take time with God. It is easier to do that than to try to squeeze Him in somewhere in the middle of the day, or stay up later to do some reading and praying.

Taking time first thing in the morning seems to make the whole day go better, at least for me. God’s word is an uplifting influence no matter where you study. It will set the stage for your whole day, and you can carry the things you learned and read with you all day long.

If you are scheduling time in the morning, it is unlikely anything will interrupt that time. If you schedule during the day or evening, it is very easy for interruptions or other options to come up, and then your time with God will be diminished.

But seeking first the kingdom is even more than this. It is keeping Him in your thoughts all day long. The word tells us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4), pray without ceasing (I Thess 5:17) and acknowledge Him in all our ways (Prov 3:6). There should never a moment pass when we are not mindful of His mercy and grace toward us. There should never be a moment that we are not ready to praise Him, pray for others, or give an account for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). We must be instant in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2), ready to give a word to someone who needs to hear it. We must be ready, willing and able to show mercy whenever confronted with someone who needs mercy, as Jesus did. We musty make sure our words and actions are there to minister grace to those who hear and see them (Eph 4:29).

You see, putting God first is more than just scheduling Him into your day. It is more than just taking time to read scripture and study a book. It is a lifestyle. It is our “conversation” as the KJV puts it. Everything we do and say comes from our relationship to Him. If we are close to God, our words and actions will speak of Christ and His love wherever we go. My best friend has been close and has been drifting in His life. I can always tell when he is drifting away again because His language starts to get bad again. I will tell Him when I see this happening and sometimes he gets mad and defends Himself, and sometimes he takes the word of rebuke and thanks me for it. In either case, I will always tell Him. It is my duty as His friend and brother in the Lord.

We are to be a light that shines in the darkness (Matt 5:14-16), lighting the way so others will be drawn to the Lord. We are to be salt (Matt 5:13) making others thirsty for the things of God. We are supposed to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit those in prison (Matt 25:35-36). We are to love one another because that is how we show we are His disciples (John 13:35). Everything we do or say reflects our relationship to God. Putting Him first means putting others first (Phil 2:2-4).

Not only are we to minister to others as a way of putting God first, this verse says we should seek out those opportunities to touch others for the Lord. We should seek out the lost and lead them to Christ, we should seek those that are sick and pray for them, or those in prison and minister to them. We should seek opportunities to feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless. There are opportunities to do these things all around us every day. Jesus travelled hundreds of miles during His ministry seeking ones who needed to know about the kingdom, preaching, teaching, healing and delivering every step of the way. He was our example, sent from God to show us the kingdom. He said the kingdom was here within us! When we first seek His kingdom, the rest of our needs will not be near as concerning to us. We will be walking as he walked, in harmony with God, knowing that others are being touched.

So do not think about seeking God first as putting Him into your schedule. I spent a lot of time on that just to show the futility of it. Think of putting Him first as your lifestyle, as a result of everything you do during each and every day. Seek Him in those you come in contact with and minister to those who have a need. Do take time in His word, in prayer and in meditation on the things of God, but don’t do only that. There is so much more to His kingdom.

Jesus said we cannot even see the kingdom of God unless we have been born again (John 3:3). He said except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. It is wonderful to seek the kingdom, but we will never find it if we have not done what Jesus told us to do, be born again. We have to put off the old man, and put on the new man (Ephesians 2:22-24). How do you do that? It is very simple.

Romans 9:9-10

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Come into the kingdom today, seek Him first above all else and your deepest needs will all be met

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3B – We Must be Understood

If I decide to travel to a foreign country as a missionary or just on vacation, I need to have an understanding of the language that is being spoken. If I do not then it will be very difficult to have effective communication with the people that I am talking to.

I’m an insurance salesman. When I talk to clients about the products that I sell, I need to talk in language that they will understand. It would be easy for me to list off the benefits quickly and use all the acronyms that insurance tends to have. But if I don’t show them how those things will benefit them then I will not be communicating effectively with them. They will hear me but the benefit of my programs will go right over their heads.

It’s one thing to be heard and it’s another thing to be understood. Now we can go to God with all the prayers we want but we have to speak in a way that He understands. I know that God knows every language on the face of the Earth. This is not a language issue. This is an issue of going to God with a heart and words that communicate with Him on the level that He wants to communicate with us.

Being understood is the second key pillar in carrying on effective communication in our prayer life. And there is one key ingredient to being understood by God – faith. If we talk to God with faith then He understands our prayer.

Hebrews 11:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The author says it is impossible to please God without faith. You might ask what about the unbeliever who reaches out to God and asks in prayer. Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given to every man The Measure of Faith. I believe that what this means is that everyone is given the same amount of faith to start with, we just all have that faith given out to different areas of our life.

For example, I have decided in my life to place a large portion of my faith in God. I have enlarged that faith in God because I have diligently sought Him and have spent a lot of time in His word. I still place some of my faith in other things, like my bank, my insurance company, my car, my house (that it won’t cave in), etc. My brother on the other hand, places his faith in science. He trusts science to give him that answers to the things I have faith about, like the origins of the universe and this earth. He has some faith in God because I have heard him say he will pray about certain things. If he would diligently seek God, a larger portion of the faith he has been given would start to trust God.

Even the unbeliever who reaches up to God and asks for healing for a loved one or for knowledge and wisdom when looking at a new job will catch God’s ear because they are extending just that small amount of faith that’s needed for God to hear them.

Hebrews 11:6 also tells us that that our faith must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If that doesn’t tell you that He answers prayers, I don’t know what does. Those rewards are the answers to our prayers. When we call out to God in faith we are automatically implying that He is and we are automatically implying that He will reward us in our prayer. What’s the use for calling out to Him if we don’t think that’s true? As we seek after God, most often we learn about Him through His Word.

Romans 10:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Diligently seeking Him means that we give all we have to search for God, His will, His Word and His mission for our lives. We do this through reading the word, and through meditating on that word. As we do, that measure of faith He has given us points more and more to faith in God. as we believe in God and believe that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him out.  That seeking also produces more faith in us and we will be understood even better as we grow in our Christian faith.

On the other side of the spectrum are those that don’t have full trust in their prayers. In James, they are called double-minded.

James 1:6-8 King James Version (KJV)
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The double-minded man is someone who doesn’t ask in faith, he just asked because it’s a popular thing to do.  He doesn’t really think that God will accomplish what he is asking for. James compares this to a ship and is tossed to and fro in the wind. I think of the movie The Perfect Storm when they are being tossed about. Or the disciples on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus was sleeping during the storm. They woke them and He calmed the storm and said “Oh ye of little faith”. (Matt 8:23-27). Did Jesus really expect them to calm the storm, or did He say this because He had told them they were going to the other side, and they doubted that they would make it? The disciples at this time, in the middle of the storm, were double-minded. They just did not know what to do in such a storm.  James says a double-minded man should not expect to receive anything from God!

Here are just a few verses that tell us why we should have having faith when we pray:

Jeremiah 32:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Philippians 4:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Mark 11:23-24 King James Version (KJV)
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Matthew 17:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
All of these verses, and many more, tell us that faith makes things possible that we might deem impossible. I could go through whole a whole litany of impossible situations that were turned around because people believed God but I’m not going to do that. Instead I can just use my own testimony the short version.

In March of 2016 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma stage 2. Stage 2 typically is not very favorable. But from the very outset I believed God and I believed He had a plan. I stood on my life-verse – Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  I was calm, and just trusted Him. I never doubted His mercy.  I went through two stem cell transplants in the period of 6 months. My right shoulder gave out on me for no apparent reason and I’m right handed. I became extremely weak after the second transplant, barely able to walk around with a walker in my home. But I’ve never stop trusting God and knowing that He had a purpose and a reason. In fact, even at my lowest point, I would say “God has been very merciful to me”. I always approached everything with the faith that He was going to completely heal me.

I never had any side effects from chemo, like mouth sores, upset stomach, diarrhea or anything else. None of these things affected me. They told me my shoulder would probably not start working again or if it did it would take at least 2 years. It started working in 8 months and it is almost back to normal. The neuropathy seems to be getting better and I’m still believing God for full healing there.

Many prayed that the diagnosis was wrong, and that I would be instantly healed. I was not. Many, around the world, are praying now that God will continue to move – He is. He had a plan for the 2 years that have gone by so far! God has given me a ministry I never even dreamed of – online!

The Holy Spirit has spoken to me songs and poetry almost daily. Since the beginning of this cancer I have written over 700 poems and songs of praise and comfort, and shared them on my Psalmist page and a Facebook page, which has over 3,000 followers. On my other blog on this platform I have done studies through the books of Philippians, Ephesians, Psalms and James. I have been in the word more than ever in my life. Through all of this I have had thousands of encouraging comments and messages on how people have been touched by the words, a few people have been saved by the words, and some were healed. God gets all the glory!

This is a ministry that most likely would not have happened if I had not been sick for so long. I most likely would not know any of you who are reading this post right now, and I would not have been blessed by your blogs. God had a purpose for this in my life, and the result is only just beginning. As a rewarder of my faith, I know He has more in store. I’m looking forward to the day that I can go out and minister the gift of healing in other churches around the Midwest. God has given me a platform to shout His praises and I intend to do that very thing. All because, when this all began, I prayed the prayer of faith and asked God to use this situation for His glory. I was just clay in His hands.

What are you going through that is hard? Glorify God because of it! Ask Him to use you in the middle of the storm. Ask Him to make you a blessing to others as you weather the storm that has you reeling in life. Don’t allow the situations you face to block out the mercy of God.

God understands faith. To effectively communicate with God first we must be heard and then we must be understood by praying the prayer of faith. In the next lesson we will talk about the Third pillar of communication and that is expecting a response. Stay tuned

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3A – We Must be Heard – Part 2

We continue on the study how we can more effectively be heard by God. We are using 1 Chronicles 7:14 as a guide for this lesson. In the last lesson, we discussed the first three points in this promise that God gave to Solomon: we must be his people, be called by his name, and then humble ourselves before we go to the next step.

2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

PRAY

This whole study is on the activity of Prayer. We have already spent a lot of time on prayer, and will be going further into it throughout the rest of this study, so I won’t spend much time here. Just a few scriptures to keep the word active.

Mark 11:24 King James Version (KJV)
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

These words of Jesus are very powerful. Putting this in context as we look back in the previous verses. Jesus and the disciples walked past a fig tree that looked like it was in season to produce fruit. When they went up to the tree there was no fruit. Jesus says that the fig tree would not produce any fruit forever. The next morning, they came by the same tree and it was withered and dried up and the disciples were amazed.

When we pray for the right reason it will be answered. This fig tree is symbolistic of those who show on the outside the fruits of righteousness but inside they are dead and non-productive. Jesus wants all of us to be fruitful, not just what people see but what is inside of us. This fig tree was hypocritical in a sense, and we must not have hypocrisy in our lives. He goes on to say that we can move a mountain if we believe. If we are desiring the things of God, our prayers will be answered if we believe that God will answer them. This is not a call that we can pray for anything we want. It has to line up with God’s word. The whole body of scripture on prayer needs to be taken together, not individual verses.

Matthew 6:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Jesus tells us that we should not use meaningless repetitions. He wants us to pray from our hearts with our own words, not our heads  prayers that we have learned. This is a key to being heard, He says. Even those that don’t believe can pray vain repetitions which are words that are just written by somebody to repeat over and over again. They become commonplace and really don’t mean anything to me personally.

My prayers need to be personal ones that tell God what is in my heart. I know that a lot of people pray the Psalms on a regular basis. I would recommend that you not necessarily pray exactly what’s in the Bible, although that is a good thing. I would suggest that you write out the Psalm that you want to pray in your own words and make that your prayer. Psalm 119 is a great place to start because it is full of request to know God’s Word better.

James 5:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James tells us to pray for one another. Intercessory prayer is critical to God and critical to the church. It is much more powerful for us to pray for somebody else that it is to pray for ourselves. Jesus rarely prayed for himself, and when He did it was asking God to help Him do God’s will.. We will be covering intercessory prayer in much more detail in a future lesson.

1 John 3:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
This portion of scripture tells us that if we ask, we will receive IF we keep his commandments and do things that are pleasing in his sight. That’s a very big IF! God desires to honor our prayers. How much do we want His call on our lives? The more we follow His call and follow His commandments, the more we will see our prayers answered. The prayer of faith is powerful and when we walk in that faith and trust in God’s commandments to guide our path, He will answer

SEEK HIS FACE

We have covered this in-depth in Chapter 2 but it won’t hurt to look at it again briefly.

Deuteronomy 4:29 King James Version (KJV)
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Psalm 119:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

If we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will find him. As we said before, He’s not hiding. He’s right there waiting and hoping that we will call on Him. God does not force himself upon us, or into our lives. He wants to bless us, He wants to have a relationship with us. God does not move away – it is us who move away from Him.. And if we seek Him with all the we have we will find Him. I believe this applies to absolutely everyone, even those who say there is no God. If they seek Him with all their heart, they will find Him.

Psalm 105:4 King James Version (KJV)
4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Seeking His face means to be able to stand before Him. I don’t know about you, but I love to be in His presence. But we cannot stand in His presence if we have sin in our lives. We need strength from Him to carry out His commandments so that we can stand in that place. The next portion of this verse deals with the sin we may have. One more verse on seeking first.

Hosea 10:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
We have spent quite a bit of time on this already so I will not spend a lot of time here, but it’s important that we break up the hardheartedness that we may have when we want to seek the Lord. We should prepare ourselves to seek Him because we will find that we get better results. If we come to him with pride and arrogance demanding to see Him that, will not work. We should be walking in His righteousness and mercy.

TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS.

We need to repent of the things that we have done that don’t line up with the Word. If you would like to do a great daily bible study on repentance, I suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy the book entitled “The Walk of Repentance” by Steve Gallagher. It is an amazing 24 week journey, and you will not regret it. We need to walk with a repentant heart on a daily basis because we are sinners saved by grace. There is never a day goes by that we don’t need to repent before the Lord, that we don’t need to turn from our Wicked Ways and come to Him.

Isaiah 55:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
God will have mercy on us if we forsake our wicked ways. That means leaving them behind. Not just our actions, but our thought life as well. God knows all that we think, every word out of our mouth, every action we take. Can you honestly stand before Him and say that there is not a single ungodly thing in your life? I can’t! If I turn away from these things, He will abundantly pardon me. That sounds good!

Ezekiel 18:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
I want to live, and I want to live in close relationship with God. God promises me life if I turn away from my sins and do those things that are lawful land right. This is a promise from God to every man not just a Christian. It is imperative that we get rid of our Wicked Ways

Ezekiel 18:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
He will give us a new heart and a new spirit when we get rid of our sin. We need this because our old heart is full of transgression and bad deeds. The spirit of this world is within us and it causes us to follow after the statutes of the world. If we turn from our transgressions and our sins, then God will give us these things so that it will be easier for us to steer clear of them in the future. In the New Testament, we read that when we are in Christ, we are a new creation – I needed that once He saved me

Joel 2:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORDyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

We need to turn to God and fast, mourn and weep over our sin. Ask God to take it away. He tells us we need to rend our heart. This is an interesting phrase. Throughout the Bible, we can see places where people tear their garments because of sin. This is a sign of remorse and of sorrow over the sin that’s been in the nation or in their lives. Once the sin has been revealed, they would rend their garments. God wants us to rend our hearts instead of our clothing. When we rend our hearts because we are torn apart by the sin in our lives, this is a sign of a contrite heart to God, which He honors. Psalm 5i:17 says that a broken spirit and contrite heart are sacrifices to God that he likes. When we are broken before Him, God is gracious and merciful to us.

THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN

After all this has been done. After we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways then God says He will hear from heaven. This is an exciting promise! Psalm 34:15 tells us that his ears open to the cry of the righteous. Isaiah 59:1 says His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear but our sins have caused us to be hidden from Him, and He will not hear. Psalm 66 18 says if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me. All these things show us that it is important to come to God in the right manner if we want to be heard!

Let’s finish one more scripture:

1 Samuel 8:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day

The Israelites had decided to choose a person from among them for their King instead of keeping God as their leader. God granted their request and gave them Saul, but He gave them a warning as well. This shows us that God will answer prayer even if sometimes it will be detrimental to us. God warns them that if they do this thing, and take Saul for their King instead of God, there will come a time that they will call on Him and He will not hear them.
I for one do not want that to happen in my life. I don’t want someone on the throne of my life besides God. That includes putting myself on the throne. If God is not King of Kings and Lord of Lords in my life, He just may not hear me when I cry out to Him. He has given us plenty of warning and He has given us this portion of scripture as a guide to be more effectively heard in our prayer life. I for one truly desire my prayers to be heard by God and I don’t want to have any questions in my mind as to whether He heard me or not. So, I’ll do all I can to keep this portion of scripture and to study it and to know what God expects. My prayer life will benefit when I do!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 2D – Seek and Be Blessed

Now that we have looked at the importance of seeking the Lord let’s look at the blessings that come from that. Some of these verses will be repetitive from my last lesson but I think it’s worth looking at them again – nothing wrong with doubling up on blessings, right?

Deut 4:29 – But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Jer 29:13 – And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

As we said before, when we put all of our heart and mind into seeking the Lord we will find him. I am a firm believer that if any atheist would seek the Lord they would find him. Anybody who is backslidden and is falling away from God, if they would seek the Lord they would find him. He’s not in hiding. He hasn’t run away. He is not trying to avoid you. He said he will never leave you or forsake you. He is just waiting for you to seek Him!

Do you remember the story of the prodigal son? In Luke Chapter 15, Jesus tells us the prodigal ran off with his inheritance, got into trouble and decided to humble himself and come home. He was sure his father would be furious. But instead, his Father was watching for him, ran to meet him, put a ring on his finger, a robe on his back, shows on his feet and made a feast for him. God is waiting for you just like that father waited for his son. Seek Him today – He has great things in store for you once you find Him.

1st Chronicles 28:9 – And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

God tell Solomon that if he seeks him you will be found. But if you forsake him then God will cast him off. Now which would you prefer? Before He says this, God says that He searches the hearts and He understands the imaginations and the thoughts that we have. I can’t imagine that He would still want me to seek Him if He knows some of the thoughts and imaginations that I have but He does. He so desires a relationship with us!

Psalm 34:10 – The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

When we seek the Lord, we shall not want any good thing. He’s not talking about new cars or bigger houses or money – the things this world has to offer. What He’s talking about here the gifts that only God can give – joy, peace, mercy, grace, hope – the list is long. These are the good things that God will give to those who seek Him. I should seek Him all the day long for these things because they’re so needed in my life on a day-to-day basis.

2nd Chronicles 26:5 – And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

I believe God is not a respecter of persons. That means He treats us all the same. So if Zechariah was made to prosper as long as he sought the Lord, I believe we will too. What is your definition of prosperity? The online dictionary defines it as being prosperous. I looked up a couple other definitions and found that it means to flourish, usually in a financial way. I don’t believe in the Prosperity Gospel that keeps coming back around so frequently. I do believe God wants us to prosper in every area of our lives. He desires that our families, our jobs, our communities, our churches and all we put our hands should flourish, to grow and become more fruitful. That is the prosperity God brings into our lives – much more precious than material possessions that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Amos 5:4 – For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

I think we all want to live, don’t we? This short little scripture says if we seek Him we will live. It won’t be any life that we live, but it will be a good life that we live. I will be a life that contains those things that are priceless the things mentioned above – unspeakable joy. amazing grace, peace that passes all understanding, unsinkable hope, unfathomable love. All of these are part of the life that God wants to give us if we’ll just seek him

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

This familiar portion of scripture says He will add all these things to us. The verses preceding this one talk about the necessities of life – shelter, clothing and food. We don’t have to worry about those things, and those are the biggest things we worry about. God will supply all we need because He loves us more than we can even possibly imagine. Why else would He send His Son to die for our sins. I like to couple the next verse with this one. Matt 6:34 says take no thought for tomorrow. In other words, don’t worry. Give God all your problems and don’t fret over what tomorrow may bring. As my favorite author puts it “Don’t insult today by looking for a better tomorrow”.

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

If we come to God we have to believe that He is. After all God introduced himself to Moses as I am. We must know that He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He will do. He is the creator of all things, He parted the red sea and the Jordan river, He fed over 2,000,000 people in a desert wilderness for 40 years, He saved Daniel out of the Lion’s den – do you get the picture? He can do whatever is needed.

Then the writer says God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Oh my, can you imagine what the rewards of God are like? I can only start to think about what kind of rewards He can give me in my life. I don’t seek Him for the rewards, but I know that He is a rewarder, and so I will take whatever he wants to give me. I can be sure whatever reward He has for me will be good, and it will help me to grown closer to Him and grown in my faith.

Ask, then seek. Next, it’s time to start knocking!

 

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 2C – Seek

There is no secret to seeking the Lord, but there are some ways that we can make the experience better for us. We will discuss the ways of seeking the Lord and then, in the next post,  the blessings that we get from seeking the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:29 – But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

This is a double verse because it says if we seek Him we will find him, which is a blessing which we will discuss further next time.  There is a stipulation. We have to seek him with all of our heart and all of us all soul.  To me that means giving it everything I have. It’s not a half-hearted thing to really seek after the Lord and what He would have for you. There is so much that He wants to give you. We can have the Fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the comforter, the gift of hospitality and others that are listed in Romans 12:6-21.  Just his presence in our lives is something that seeking Him will bring. This is so important and I pray that when you do seek the Lord you will give it everything you’ve got.

1st Chronicles 16:11 – Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

This says we should seek his strength and seek his face continually. There are other verses that talk about continually being in touch with God, like Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice” and 1st Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. How often is your mind on the Lord? It seems to me throughout my day my mind goes towards Him in worship and in praise and in prayer as He brings people before me. I need to make time to seek Him as often as I can

 2nd Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This is a verse of scripture we are probably all familiar with and we’ll be looking at it in great detail in a few lessons because it is a critical to our prayer lives. Part of that famous verse says to seek His face, which is the same as seeking Him, because if we are before His face, we are before Him.  This verse says seeking His face is a prerequisite to having our prayers answered. I pray that when you are preparing to pray you will seek the Lord first.

2nd Chronicles 19 3 – Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

This verse says that a good thing has been found in me – I have prepared my heart to seek the Lord. We just talked about that a little bit. Are you in preparation to seek the Lord?  Is it something that you just do half-heartedly or with all your heart?  How well how do I prepare my heart to seek the Lord?  To me, preparing to seek Him is finding a quiet place where I can zone out the day and the cares of this world, and set my mind on Him.  They say it takes at least 20 minutes of concentration on something before our minds are clear of distractions.  When was the last time you sought the Lord for over 20 minutes?  I can honestly say it’s been a long tie for me.  Lord, help me to come to you more often with time to spare!

Hosea 10:12 – Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Here is how you prepare your heart to seek the Lord. First you sow to yourself in righteousness. That means that you put righteous things into your mind and into your heart. Meditate on Psalm 119 and the other Psalms, think about those things listed in Philippians 4:8. This is sowing righteousness into your mind and into your life. Then he says to reap in Mercy. To me that means to make sure you’re understanding the mercy that He’s given in your life and knowing that it’s on going and that you can’t live without it. You’re depending on it.  When we get to that position, we will see that we are reaping mercy on a continual basis.

Break up our fallow ground. Now we all know the parable of the sower and the seed. It says some seed fell by the wayside and the ground was hard and it did not take root at all. This is fallow ground. It’s been trodden down by life and it will not take a seed. We always think of these verses as meaning a seed into somebody’s life for salvation. But we can continually have seeds planted in our lives that will help us to grow in other areas.  We need to make sure that we’re always going in and breaking up that fallow ground in our lives so that He can continue to plant seeds, or have someone else plant seeds, into your life.

Breaking up fallow ground is not always easy.  Being in the word, open and ready to receive what God has for you that day, is the best starting point.  Read slowly and listen to the Holy Spirit within you.  He is trying to talk to you all the time.  Most of the time the cares of this world crowd out His voice, but if you quiet yourself and invite Him to talk, I am convinced you will hear Him. He will always guide you into truth (John 16:13) and will teach you what Jesus said – what the word says (John 14:26).  Listen for His voice and He will break up that fallow ground.

Once we’ve done these three steps then it’s time to seek the Lord. Then our seeking will bring the blessings that we’re going to talk about in the next post. Oh, how we need to take the time to prepare for that. Because the blessing is that He will come and rain righteousness upon you when you seek the Lord in this way

Zephaniah 2:3 – Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

We need to understand our position in Christ which is what meekness is. Meekness is not weak but it’s a humble disposition, one that is gentle and not easily provoked, calm and cool as we would say.  It’s a powerful position, knowing that God’s in control and knowing that we can call on his power whenever we need to. When we’re in this position and we seek the Lord, we can seek righteousness and seek more meekness. This is a good and pleasant thing to do.

And lastly Matthew 6:33 –  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

In this verse, which is also probably very familiar to all of us, Jesus says we first need to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And then He will take care of all the other things that we have need of on this Earth. He is our heavenly Father and He doesn’t want to keep anything from us. The Psalm 37:25 says “ I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He loves us He doesn’t want us to worry about the food we eat or the clothes that we wear or where shall we lay our heads. We should be concentrating on Him Kingdom and His righteousness because when we do all earthly distractions fall aside. Worldly cares will not take up so much of our time. This is a good thing.

I hope you have a desire in your heart to seek God on a regular basis.  Not only does it help us draw nearer to Him, but it also is loaded with blessings, which we will discuss in our next post.

Be blessed!