by Wade E Taylor
Our spiritual life must be established and abide upon a firm foundation. This “foundation” is our daily time of worship and prayer, which flows out from our innermost being to the Lord. It is not the amount of time (quantity) that we spend in worship and prayer that is important, but rather, the quality of this time.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For it is always he who asks that receives, he who seeks that finds, and he who knocks that has the door opened to him.”
“What man is there among you, who if his son shall ask him for bread will offer him a stone? Or if the son shall ask him for a fish will offer him a snake? If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” Mathew 7:7-11 Weymouth
There are three primary words in the above; ask, seek, and knock. The outworking of each of these produces a very different result.
Ask and “it” will be given. This “it” is that for which we are asking. It will be given to the one who asks. If we ask for bread, the Lord will not give us a stone. If we ask for fish, He will not give us a serpent. We can trust the Lord to rightly respond to our request.
During 1953, I was praying to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I had been told by a minister that terrible things would happen to me, if I did this. As a result, I was praying in doubt and fear. The Lord gave me the above verse to repeat. I began to pray, “Lord, I am asking for the Baptism, You said that you will not give me a stone or serpent.” I repeated this over and over, until suddenly I was immersed in the Holy Spirit, and was filled with His life and power.
In order to receive, this “asking” must be according to the will of the Lord, which we will come to know, as we spend quality time in His presence. Faith will be imparted into our being and then we can ask in confidence, knowing that we will receive.
“Seeking” goes beyond our asking to receive something. “Seek, and you will find.” Seeking has to do with a spiritual discovery, as we come to better know the Lord as a person. In the first, we are asking our Lord to provide “something” that we desire or need. In the second, we are asking the Lord to reveal Himself to us. In each of these, we receive, but very differently.
“Knocking” is distinct from either of the above. “Knock and it will be opened to you” – not given, but rather a doorway into a new realm will be opened before us. This “knocking” refers to a persistence in intercession that will lead to a birthing into a higher spiritual realm, or to an open door that had previously been closed.
I can say, “I will now pray.” I cannot say, “I will now intercede.” Prayer is initiated by the one who prays. Intercession is initiated by the Holy Spirit, to which I must respond. Intercession is very costly, because we must respond when this deep inner-knock of intercession is birthed within us. We cannot say, “I am busy now and will respond later.”
“Asking” gives release to our faith. But intercession is a process, at times painful, that results in a birthing. This intercessory birthing is very different from our asking or seeking.
Some years ago a young man excitedly told me about his new car and described it in detail. When I asked if I could see it, he said he did not have it yet, but was “speaking” it into being. This will not work, but there is a scriptural process that will work. “Asking” in itself is not sufficient. I must “seek” the Lord that He will actively move in my behalf and I must then “intercede” that it will be birthed into reality.
“Knock and it shall be opened to you.” That is, a way, or process, will be made available to us, and begin to open before us. Often, we may not understand this burden, but in the Lord’s time and way, it will become clear to us.
Many years ago I was feeling a burden concerning a urgent need, and had a vision concerning it. I began to seek the Lord as to what I could, or should do concerning this, as any action on my part to accomplish it was impossible. Later, an intercession formed within me for the outworking of this vision. The Lord responded to this intercession in a way I could not have imagined, and the vision became a reality.
The “foundation” in our lives – the attitude and intention of our heart, must be right for things like this to happen. The Lord may spend years dealing with these things, before He will impart the faith to bring into being that for which we are asking.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” John 14:13
The need and vision I had received was very real. I could have recited the above verse to the Lord and then said, “In Jesus name I receive the outworking of this vision, for You said that You would give us whatever we ask in your Name, and I asked in Your Name.” But this verse does not mean that. In fact, we could create tremendous problems if it did work that way. Our asking “in His Name” is the key, but it means that we ask in the “authority” that He has given to us. Only He can give this authority, and when given, it becomes “creative faith” that will produce a result.
There are two aspects to the term, “in His Name.” The first has to do with the fact of His name. The second has to do with the authority that is resident within that name.
In the early 1950’s I was given an insurance agency. The man who gave this business to me gave me the “power of attorney” to sign his name to policies, until I could be licensed to sign my name. Now I could sign his name, and it had authority because he had given it to me. It could have been misused, but he had placed a trust in me.
The Scripture says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord.” That is, I have received a specific word that gives me the authority to ask. When I act on this, I will receive. I cannot find a Scripture that I like, and use that. It must be the specific word that I received from the Lord.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
This speaks of a complete submission of my life to become the expression of the life of Jesus. This is why Paul could say, “be followers of me, even as I follow the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul is so “at one” with the Lord, that the will of the Lord has become his will. Now the faith of the Lord can become operative in the life of Paul, and his prayers will be answered, as they are now the prayer of the Lord, expressed through Paul.
“Faith comes by hearing.” My part is to believe and act on what I am hearing. Faith is a gift which comes from above. I am not capable of faith, but I can live by the faith of the son of God. The best example of this is Jesus walking on water. When Peter saw Him, He said, “Lord, bid me come.” And Jesus responded, “Come.” Peter began to walk toward Jesus, not on water, but on the word he had received – “come.” The word of faith had become substance and Peter could walk on that. As soon as he looked at the water, he began to sink.
“Asking” then has to do with receiving faith according to the Lord’s will. “Seeking” will bring us into a relationship with the Lord in which we will come to know His very heart and will. “Knocking” will release the outworking of this into the higher purposes of the Lord.
May each of these, rightly used, have a part in the outworking of our life experience.