Matthew 7:7

Jesus is revealing the Fatherhood of God, and now he is showing how that great truth is the basis of faith, and, in particular, the ground for confidence in prayer.


1. Thrice repeated. This threefold invitation shows us

(1) the importance of prayer;

(2) the backwardness of unbelief;

(3) the gracious kindness of Christ. It is not only permissible for us to pray; we are invited and urged to avail ourselves of the great privilege.

2. In varied forms.

(1) Ask. There are things that we want to receive. The simplest prayer is to ask for them.

(2) Seek. There are truths we desire to know - hidden treasures out of sight which urge our pursuit; and God himself is unseen, and at first seemingly distant and hidden behind the clouds. The soul cries in its distress, "Oh that I knew where I might find him!" This is a deeper, a more spiritual prayer.

(3) Knock. Now we have reached the third stage of prayer - not to obtain a gift, not to reach after the hidden treasure, but ourselves to enter the kingdom. Nothing apart from God will satisfy. Our great evil is not our poverty, but our exile. Our great blessing is not an enrichment where we are, but our reception into the Father's home.

3. With promise of success. Prayer is more than confiding in God. It is not a voice crying in the dark for its own relief, and satisfied without any reply. It must be answered, or it will despair. Christ teaches us that God gives in response to prayer what we should not receive without it. This cannot be because God is ignorant of our needs (Matthew 6:32), nor that he is reluctant to help. It must be because he sees that blessings which it would not be fitting to bestow on the careless, the distrustful, or the self-satisfied, may be bestowed with wholesome results on those who humbly trust him and prepare themselves to receive them.


1. The Fatherhood of God. This is a greater reason for confidence than any definite assurance of help. We delight to plead the promises; but what if we need something lying outside the range of them? or what if we dare not apply some of them to ourselves? We assure ourselves by meditating on the Divine covenant. But how can we be certain that we are parties to the covenant? And are there no blessings to be had that are not named in that deed? Here we have assurances of uncovenanted mercies. The father does not bind down his kindness to the limits of his promises. Because God is our Father, there is no limit to his willingness to help and bless.

2. The analogy of human families. It is customary with Christ to use his parables as arguments. He is often found reasoning from what is generally accepted among men. With him religion is so natural a thing that the very course of nature is a ground of assurance. It would be quite contrary to nature that God should not show his love as a Father. To disbelieve it is to believe an amazing monstrosity of unnatural heartlessness.

3. The superior goodness of God. The argument is a fortiori. Blind unbelief will not credit God with the common paternal instinct found even in sinful human parents. Thus it places him below man. But he is infinitely above man. Then he must be a better Father than the best of human parents. If imperfect fathers on earth will not deceive their children, much less will the perfect Father in heaven. Apply this

(1) to the cry for forgiveness;

(2) to the pursuit of the better life;

(3) to the hunger for a future life. - W.F.A.

Ask, and it shall be given you.
In certain states of the body men lose all appetite for food. Are they to yield to this want of appetite? If they do yield to it, they are soon starved to death. Sometimes without appetite, it becomes necessary for them to take, day by day, nourishment. Just so with prayer. If I cannot pray as a privilege, I am to pray as a duty.

Watch in prayer to see what cometh. Foolish boys, that knock at a door in wantonness, will not stay till somebody cometh to open to them; but a man that hath business will knock, and knock again, till he gets his answer.

(T. Manton.)

Keep up the suit and it will come to a hearing-day ere it be long.

(T. Manton.)

1. Every promise is attached to a duty.

2. That concerning any duty it is not enough that you do it, you must do it scripturally.

3. It does not say when you shall receive.

4. The whole Trinity combine before there can be prayer.

5. This is the language of entire dependence. "Ask." Man is empty.

6. It is God's method to try the grace which He intends to crown. "Seek."

7. Never be afraid of being too earnest. "Knock."

8. God wishes you to have a clear understanding about the certainty of prayer.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. Ask, WHOM? Not to angels, saints. God is the only Being who is everywhere present, and therefore the only one to whom we should pray.

II. Ask, WHEN? Any time; some times better than others. Morning, etc.; the time of perplexity, etc.

III. Ask, WHERE? "I will that men pray everywhere."

IV. Ask, How?

1. Orderly; think about what you are going to ask.

2. Earnestly; not carelessly.

3. Repeatedly: until you receive an answer.

4. In your own style — as children.

5. In faith.

6. In the name of Jesus, the only Mediator, etc.

(A. McAuslane, D. D.)

A man said to me the other night in the inquiry-room, "Mr. Moody, I wish you would tell me why I can't find the Lord." Said I: "I can tell you why you can't find Him." "Why is it?" "Why, you haven't sought for Him with all your heart." He looked at me, and said he thought he had. "Well," said I, "I think you haven't; because you will surely find Him when you seek for Him with all your heart. Now, my friend, I can tell you the day and hour you are going to be converted." The man looked at me, and I have no doubt thought I was a little wild. Said I: "The Scripture tells me, 'He that seeketh findeth.'" It don't take a man long to find the Lord when he makes his mind up to do it.

1. Life is a research.

2. Not get some one else to seek for you.

3. The Lord assigns no limit to the research.

(A. Coquerel.)

In May almost always the Rogation Days come. The fitness of this. These days are meant to prepare the people's hearts for the coming festival of the Ascension; but mainly to be days of intercession " for the fruits of the earth, which are then tender, that they may not be blasted," as well as for health and peace at that season of the year when war and pestilence may be expected to begin. These intentions are indeed closely blended, for when our Lord ascended up on high He received gifts for men.

I. We pray for a blessing upon the fruits of the earth. We can scarcely help it unless we are untrue to nature. Man's heart is on his fields; he has done all his work as far as crops are concerned — now he can only hope, watch, and pray. Now all depends upon what God will be pleased to do. We are not powerless: prayer is left to us. Thirteen centuries ago Rogation Days were first appointed; it was then felt that prayer was a power to secure peace and plenty. Though there is no service for these Days, there is nothing to prevent us from keeping them. Our great authority for them is found in the first and second chapters of Joel. In these days of agricultural depression we have need to remember them.

(E. T. Marshall, M. A.)

When thou standest before His gate, knock loudly and boldly, not as a beggar knocks, but as one who belongs to the house; not as a vagabond, who is afraid of the police, but as a friend and an intimate acquaintance; not as one who is apprehensive of being troublesome, or of coming at an improper time, but of a guest who may rest assured of a hearty welcome.

(Dr. F. W. Krummacher.)


1. The nature of the duty.

2. A few of our obligations to this holy duty:

(1)The Divine command.

(2)The pious example of holy men.

(3)It is reasonable.

3. Some of the motives by which it is enforced:

(1)Its necessity.

(2)Its great importance in preparing the mind for the duties of the sanctuary and the family.

(3)Another motive arises from the maintenance of the power of religion within us.

(4)The pleasure of walking with God is a powerful incentive.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT which the text affords us.

1. The promise itself.

2. Its Divine fulness.

(1)It comprehends every human being that presents his prayer for relief.

(2)The quality of the blessing — "good things."Two reflections:

1. How happy is the believer.

2. How important to know the medium of acceptable prayer.

(J. E. Good.)

I. PRAYER IS RELIGION IN ACTION. It is the soul of man engaging in that particular form of activity which presupposes the existence of a great bond between itself and God. It is the noblest kind of human action, in which man realizes the highest capacity of his being. This estimate of prayer not universal amongst even educated people. They regard it as an outlet for feeling, a means of discipline; but less worthy the energies of a thinking man than hard work. But prayer is indeed work. The dignity of labour is proverbial.

1. Is it true that prayer is little else than the half-passive play of sentiment? Let those who have truly prayed give the answer. Jacob wrestled with an unseen Power (Matthew 11:12).

2. Take prayer to pieces; it consists of three different forms of activity.(1) To pray is to put the understanding in motion, and to direct it upon the Highest Object. How overwhelming are the ideas which thus pass before it. The issues are realized. This an absorbing occupation for the understanding.(2) To pray is to put the affections in motion, it is to open the heart; this movement of the affections is sustained throughout prayer.(3) To pray is to put the will in motion, just as decidedly as we do when we sit down to read hard, or when we walk up a steep hill. It enters vitally into the action of prayer, and is in proportion to sincerity. Now these three ingredients of prayer are also ingredients in all real work, whether of brain or hand; in prayer they are more evenly balanced. The dignity of prayer as being real work becomes clear if we reflect on the faculties it employs; and clearer if we consider the effect of it upon the habitual atmosphere of the soul. It places the soul face to face with facts of the first order of solemnity; with its real self and with its God. And just as labour in any department is elevating when it takes us out of and beyond the petty range of daily and material interests, while yet it quickens interest in them by kindling higher enthusiasms into life, so in a transcendent sense is it with prayer. It is so noble, because it is the work of man as man; of man realizing his being and destiny with a vividness which is necessary to him in no other occupation. The nobleness of his best form of toil must fall infinitely below that of a spirit entering consciously into converse with the eternal God.

II. But granted the dignity of prayer even as of labour: WHAT IF THIS LABOUR BE MISAPPLIED?

1. There is here no question as to the subjective effects of prayer; this is admitted by all.

2. Prayer is not chiefly a petition for something that we want and do not possess. It is intercourse with God, often seeking no end.

3. If prayer is to be persevered in, it must be on the conviction that it is heard by a living Person. We cannot practise trickery upon ourselves with a view to our moral edification. If God exists, if He be a Personal Being, then surely we may reach Him if we will. Where is the barrier that can arrest our thought, as it rises to the all-embracing intelligence of God. And if God be not merely an infinite intelligence, but a moral Being, a mighty heart, so that justice and tenderness are attributes of His, then surely we appeal to Him with some purpose. It is on this ground that God is said to hear prayer in Scripture. That He should do so follows from the reality of His nature as God. He who has planted in our breasts feelings of interest and pity for one another cannot be insensible to our need and pain.

III. But will God answer prayer when it takes the form of a petition FOR SOME SPECIFIC BLESSING which must be either granted or refused?

1. The first presumed barrier against the efficacy of prayer to which men point is the scientific idea of law reigning throughout the spiritual as well as the material universe. But the laws of nature are not self-sustained forces; God can use His own laws. They have not escaped His control.

2. A second barrier to the efficacy of prayer is sometimes discovered in the truth that all which comes to pass is fore-determined in the predestination of God. Prayer, too, is a foreseen action of man, and is embraced in the eternal purpose of God.

3. The third barrier is the false idea of the Divine dignity which is borrowed from our notions of human royalties. Need not depreciate man's place in the universe; God's best creature, and He cares for the lowest.

4. A fourth barrier to the efficacy of prayer is thought to be discernible in an inadequate conception of the interests of human beings as a whole. But Christian prayer is conditioned.

5. The last barrier is really to be discovered in man's idea of his own self-sufficiency,

6. That prayer is answered is a matter of personal experience.

(Canon Liddon.)

Door, Knock, Open, Opened, Request, Searching, Seek, Sign
1. Do Not Judge
7. Ask, Seek, Knock
13. Enter through the Narrow Gate
15. A Tree and Its Fruit
24. The Wise and the Foolish Builders
28. Jesus ends his sermon, and the people are astonished.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 7:7

     8610   prayer, asking God

Matthew 7:7-8

     5299   door
     5940   searching
     6650   finding
     6746   sanctification, means and results
     8160   seeking God
     8653   importunity, to God

Matthew 7:7-11

     5325   gifts
     5932   response
     6704   peace, divine NT
     8112   certainty
     8117   discipleship, benefits
     8409   decision-making, and providence
     8603   prayer, relationship with God
     8607   prayer, God's promises
     8617   prayer, effective
     8636   asking

Matthew 7:7-12

     1660   Sermon on the Mount
     2426   gospel, responses

November 22. "Cast the Beam Out of Thine Own Eye" (Matt. vii. 5).
"Cast the beam out of thine own eye" (Matt. vii. 5). Greater than the fault you condemn and criticise is the sin of criticism and condemnation. There is no place we need such grace as in dealing with an erring one. A lady once called on us on her way to give an erring sister a piece of her mind. We advised her to wait until she could love her a little more. Only He who loved sinners well enough to die for them can deal with the erring. We never see all the heart. He does, and He can convict without
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

January 12. "Ask and it Shall be Given You" (Matt. vii. 7).
"Ask and it shall be given you" (Matt. vii. 7). We must receive, as well as ask. We must take the place of believing, and recognize ourselves as in it. A friend was saying, "I want to get into the will of God," and this was the answer: "Will you step into the will of God? And now, are you in the will of God?" The question aroused a thought that had not come before. The gentleman saw that he had been straining after, but not receiving the blessing he sought. Jesus has said, "Ask and ye shall receive."
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Judging, Asking, and Giving
'Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye! 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Two Paths
'Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'--MATT. vii. 13-14. A frank statement of the hardships and difficulties involved in a course of conduct does not seem a very likely way to induce men to adopt it, but it often proves so. There is something in human nature which responds to the bracing
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Two Houses
'Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.... 25. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.'--Matt. vii. 24, 25. Our Lord closes the so-called Sermon on the Mount, which is really the King's proclamation of the law of His Kingdom, with three pairs of contrasts, all meant to sway us to obedience. The first
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Christ of the Sermon on the Mount
'And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: 29. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.'--MATT. vii. 28-29. It appears, then, from these words, that the first impression made on the masses by the Sermon on the Mount was not so much an appreciation of its high morality, as a feeling of the personal authority with which Christ spoke. Had the scribes, then, no authority? They ruled the whole life of the nation with
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. vii. 7, "Ask, and it Shall be Given You;" Etc. An Exhortation to Alms-Deeds.
1. In the lesson of the Holy Gospel the Lord hath exhorted us to prayer. "Ask," saith He, "and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? [2135] Or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? [2136] If ye then,"
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Known by their Fruits.
(Eighth Sunday after Trinity.) S. MATT. vii. 16. "Ye shall know them by their fruits." The religion of Jesus Christ is one of deeds, not words; a life of action, not of dreaming. Our Lord warns us to beware of any form of religion, in ourselves or others, which does not bring forth good fruit. God does not look for the leaves of profession, or the blossoms of promise, He looks for fruit unto holiness. We may profess to believe in Jesus Christ, we may say the Creed without a mistake, we may read
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Casting Blame.
8th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. vii. 15. "Inwardly they are ravening wolves." INTRODUCTION.--A Schoolmaster finds one day that several of his scholars are playing truant. The morning passes and they do not arrive. At last, in the afternoon, the truants turn up. The master has a strong suspicion where they have been: however, he asks, "Why were you not at school this morning?" "Please, sir, mother kept me at home to mind the baby." "Indeed--let me look at your mouth." He opens the mouth,
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

False Prophets
(Eighth Sunday after Trinity.) Matthew vii. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. People are apt to overlook, I think, the real meaning of these words. They do so, because they part them from the words which go just before them, about false prophets. They consider that 'fruit' means only a man's conduct,--that a man is known by his conduct. That professions are worth nothing, and practice worth everything. That the good man, after all, is the man who does right; and the bad man, the man who
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

A Man Expects to Reap the Same Kind as He Sows.
"Herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit . . . after his kind."--Gen. i: 12. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"--Matt. vii: 16. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." --Romans viii: 13. A Man Expects to Reap the Same Kind as He Sows. If I should tell you that I sowed ten acres of wheat last year and that watermelons came up, or that I sowed cucumbers and gathered
Dwight L. Moody—Sowing and Reaping

The Mote and the Beam
That friend of ours has got something in his eye! Though it is only something tiny--what Jesus called a mote--how painful it is and how helpless he is until it is removed! It is surely our part as a friend to do all we can to remove it, and how grateful he is to us when we have succeeded in doing so. We should be equally grateful to him, if he did the same service for us. In the light of that, it seems clear that the real point of the well-known passage in Matthew 7:3-5 about the beam and the mote
Roy Hession and Revel Hession—The Calvary Road

Doctrine of Non-Resistance to Evil by Force must Inevitably be Accepted by Men of the Present Day.
Christianity is Not a System of Rules, but a New Conception of Life, and therefore it was Not Obligatory and was Not Accepted in its True Significance by All, but only by a Few--Christianity is, Moreover, Prophetic of the Destruction of the Pagan Life, and therefore of Necessity of the Acceptance of the Christian Doctrines--Non-resistance of Evil by Force is One Aspect of the Christian Doctrine, which must Inevitably in Our Times be Accepted by Men--Two Methods of Deciding Every Quarrel--First Method
Leo Tolstoy—The Kingdom of God is within you

Fifth Lesson. Ask, and it Shall be Given You;
Ask, and it shall be given you; Or, The Certainty of the Answer to Prayer. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened,'--Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.'--Jas. iv. 3. OUR Lord returns here in the Sermon on the Mount a second time to speak of prayer. The first time He had spoken of the Father who is
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

Sixth Lesson. How Much More?'
How much more?' Or, The Infinite Fatherliness of God. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?'--Matt. vii. 9-11 IN these words our Lord proceeds further to confirm what He had said of the certainty of an answer to prayer. To remove
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

The Beggar. Mt 7:7-8

John Newton—Olney Hymns

Here Again Arises a Very Difficult Question. For in what Way Shall we Fools...
28. Here again arises a very difficult question. For in what way shall we fools be able to find a wise man, whereas this name, although hardly any one dare openly, yet most men lay claim to indirectly: so disagreeing one with another in the very matters, in the knowledge of which wisdom consists, as that it must needs be that either none of them, or but some certain one be wise? But when the fool enquires, who is that wise man? I do not at all see, in what way he can be distinguished and perceived.
St. Augustine—On the Profit of Believing.

Asking, Seeking, Finding. --Matt. vii. 7, 8
Asking, Seeking, Finding.--Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ask, and ye shall receive; On this my hope I build: I ask forgiveness, and believe My prayer shall be fulfill'd. Seek, and expect to find: Wounded to death in soul, I seek the Saviour of mankind; His touch can make me whole. Knock, and with patience wait, Faith shall free entrance win: I stand and knock at mercy's gate; Lord Jesus! let me in. How should I ask in vain? Seek, and not find Thee, Lord? Knock, and yet no admittance gain? Is it not in Thy
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Assurance and Encouragement. --Matt. vii. 7, 8
Assurance and Encouragement.--Matt. vii. 7, 8. While these commands endure, These promises are sure; And 'tis an easy task To knock, to seek, to ask: Sinner hast thou the willing mind? Saint, art thou thus inclined? Dost thou expect, desire, believe? Then knock and enter, seek and find, Ask and receive.
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

The Strait Gate;
OR, GREAT DIFFICULTY OF GOING TO HEAVEN: PLAINLY PROVING, BY THE SCRIPTURES, THAT NOT ONLY THE RUDE AND PROFANE, BUT MANY GREAT PROFESSORS, WILL COME SHORT OF THAT KINGDOM. "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."--Matthew 7:13, 14 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. If any uninspired writer has been
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Parting Counsels
'And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Author's Preface.
I did not write this little work with the thought of its being given to the public. It was prepared for the help of a few Christians who were desirous of loving God with the whole heart. But so many have requested copies of it, because of the benefit they have derived from its perusal, that I have been asked to publish it. I have left it in its natural simplicity. I do not condemn the opinions of any: on the contrary, I esteem those which are held by others, and submit all that I have written to
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

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