In 1962, before The Beatles became a phenomenal success, EMI producer George Martin was not yet convinced of the songwriting ability of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He was committed to producing a hit single for the band so he suggested that they record a song called “How Do You Do It?” written by a songwriter by the name of Mitch Murray. The Beatles wanted to record their own songs but, reluctantly, they recorded the song that their producer had suggested. Their reluctance to do the song was quite evident in the halfhearted effort that they put into it, and the song was not released by The Beatles. The song was given to Gerry & The Pacemakers, whose wholehearted effort went on to number one on the charts.
In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus taught that we should ask, seek, and knock. He said that if we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find. And, if we knock, the door will be opened to us. In the original Greek, the tense used in these verses is the present tense. Jesus was saying that we need to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. We need to go to God with our prayer requests both consistently and persistently. In other words, prayer requires effort. It requires stamina because sometimes the answer to our prayers does not come right away. God’s answer to our prayers is based on His timetable, not ours.
God wants to answer our prayers. God’s answer is sometimes “yes,” sometimes “no,” and sometimes “wait.” But His answer will come. When God delays His answer to our prayers it is not a sign of reluctance on His part. The delay may be so that we learn patience. It may be to test the intensity of our desire, not just for what we are praying for, but for our relationship with God. It may be to test our expectation. Do we truly believe that God will provide an answer to our prayers? Do we wait expectantly, anticipating what God will do when He answers?
What Jesus is telling us is that we should not pray half-heartedly, we should not give a half-hearted effort to asking, seeking, and knocking. In Jeremiah 29:13, God tells us that, if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Prayer should not be half-hearted. When we ask, when we seek, and when we knock, we need to give a wholehearted effort. God will answer our prayers and open the doors that He knows are best for us. When we ask, seek, and knock wholeheartedly, we will receive God’s perfect answer to our prayers.