“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
I sat in the metal folding chair, balancing my Bible with one arm as my other arm hid the unfinished questions in my study. The Bible study group’s discussion topic was quiet time, spending personal time with God, and a woman across the circle was sharing.
She wakes up an hour before her kids. She spends time in the Bible, praying and journaling every day. She makes it a priority.
I listened and nodded politely.
She seemed to be doing it “right,” and she wasn’t wrong about time with God — it was important. But most weeks, I wasn’t even able to complete my Bible study, let alone have a quiet time with any consistency. I felt like such a failure. The sweat accumulating under my strategically draped arm served only to condemn me further.
In truth, the discussion of having a quiet time with God has always caused me to sweat a little (OK, a lot). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I don’t want time with the Lord — I do! But I have never felt I’m doing it quite right … especially since my kids were born.
For the last 10 years, I’ve been attempting to navigate the endless demands of parenthood. From sleepless nights to pre-dawn wake-ups, never-ending teething purgatory, tyrannical toddler tantrums and potty-training woes — the struggle has been real.
My prayer times have occurred at all hours of the day, in a variety of places, and usually they’re anything but quiet. From the hallway floor, I have pleaded with the Lord for peace as a little one wails into the night. Under the cover of a much-needed shower, I have let my tears fall at the feet of Jesus. Stuck in traffic, I have desperately sought God’s direction. Some days it takes me all morning just to read a simple devotion uninterrupted, and other days, my prayer time finds me at the foot of a potty seat, begging for sanity.
My days are far from neat and tidy. And in this season of life, discouragement nips at my heart, leaving me wondering if my efforts are enough.
In one of Jesus’ most famed sermons, He spoke on this very idea of prayer, saying, “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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV).
Many of us are probably familiar with this passage. But have you ever taken time to notice the words that are not present? A “perfect hour” to seek the Lord was not in the directions. The “right words to say” while knocking were not suggested, and prerequisites of neat and tidy were never mentioned.
Why? Because Jesus doesn’t demand perfection in our pursuit of God; He encourages our persistence in the pursuit.
And that’s a BIG, grace-filled difference!
Our Lord sees our mess, our daily shortcomings and even the unanswered questions on our Bible study. He sees our unconventional quiet-time locations, and He knows there have been occasions when we’ve fallen asleep mid-prayer. Yet He loves us still.
We’re covered by the grace of the cross, and any whispers of doubt attempting to condemn or discourage our pursuits are from the enemy. But, friends, we do not belong to the enemy; we belong to God!
Our heavenly Father invites us into His presence today. He guarantees to answer when we knock, and His merciful arms are open wide and waiting. I pray each of us will embrace this promise, from wherever we are, and run with confidence toward the Lord of our hearts.
Dear Jesus, we desire to pursue You wholeheartedly, and we ask that You quiet any whispers of shame and doubt seeking to dissuade our efforts. Embolden us to live confidently in Your presence and love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)
Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Do you want to make time for God, but aren’t sure where to start? We created a guide to help you start developing the habit of spending time in Scripture. The 21-Day Invitation: Steps to Reconnect with God uses these Encouragement for Today daily devotions with key verses and questions to help you process and pray through what you’ve learned. It includes tips on how to have consistent time connecting with God and a bonus guide on how to pray through Scripture. Click here to download!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Consider your recent pursuits of the Lord. Are you running toward Him with confidence? Or have you been feeling discouraged? Prayerfully bring these findings before the Lord today.
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!
© 2020 by Corrie Gerbatz. All rights reserved.
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