In Matthew 7:7–8, Jesus said, “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.”
Question: Does that mean God will give me anything and everything I ask for? There are those who think and teach so: Health and wealth is yours, just ask, seek, and knock away, and you will get what you want; it is a blank cheque—fill in what you will, no questions asked.
But this is a gross misinterpretation and misapplication of the text. For in another place, the Lord said, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (Jas 4:3). When we ask with sinful and carnal desires or ask for things that are not spiritually or morally good for us, the Lord will not give for sure. Further, the context of Matthew 7 makes it clear that the promise is premised upon the goodness of our Father in heaven, “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?” (v11). Our heavenly Father will only give to us the things that are good for us. When we ask for more health and wealth, the Lord may not give because He knows our hearts and He knows our future. God knows all and Father knows best.
Martin Luther said, “When we pray, we have the advantage [of the promise] that what we ask for will be granted, although not according to our wish. If it weren’t for the promise I wouldn’t pray. God does well, moreover, that he doesn’t give us everything as we wish, for otherwise we’d want to have everything on our own terms. That our Lord God is the same in life and death I have often experienced. If our prayer is earnest it will be heard, even if not as and when we wish. This must be so or our faith is vain.”
In one of his table talks, Luther used his pet dog to illustrate what it means to be earnest in prayer. “When Luther’s puppy happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he [Martin Luther] said, ‘Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope….” We must pray with such focus—focus on our good God and His good will and what good He can give and do for us when we pray to Him sincerely and fervently. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Jas 5:16b). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
So, let us keep on praying to our good Creator and Provider, even our Father in heaven. Our Lord calls on us to pray and not faint (Luke 18:1). “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal 6:9).
We praise the Lord for the blessed prayer meetings we have had thus far. We were encouraged by those who joined us from afar—from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, and even UAE. Do join us at our prayer meeting on Friday night. A church that prays together stays together.
NEW AND OLD HYMNS TO BLESS AND COMFORT
“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Ps 103:1, 2)
“God My Father Reigns”
Deborah Mae composed “God My Father Reigns” with lyrics from Joycelyn Chng after hearing that Jemima was stricken with cancer. It is comforting to know that God is on the throne and He is in control no matter what happens. Hear it at:
“Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”
The sovereignty of God in the affairs of mankind can also be gleaned from the Rev John Ryland’s poem “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”. Our brother and Hymnpod founder Christopher Tan saw that the poem could be sung to the tune of “Holy Bible, Book Divine”. Find it here:
HymnPod (http://hymnpod.com) is a traditional hymns podcast where you can listen to many good old hymns played on the piano and sing along.
“Arise, My Soul, Arise”
The True Life choir (men) gave a beautiful rendition of “Arise, My Soul, Arise”. The parts were separately recorded and then put together by brother Bee Heng using a digital app. Hear it here:
“Alone with God”
The hymn “Alone with God” was introduced to us by the Rev Nguyen Gia Hien of Brisbane Bible-Presbyterian Church. It was his sister Bich’s favourite. She was called home to be with the Lord on 3 May 2020. Rev Hien shared, “I thank God for taking my sister home with Him in peace. When I talked and prayed with my sister over the phone, she asked me to help her to memorise Isaiah 41:10 and Habakkuk 3:17–19 because she only could remember some parts of those verses. Thank God that in the end she could memorise those verses. Only God and His Word is able to strengthen and comfort her in her weakness and pain until the end.” Here’s the hymn:
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Habbakuk 3:17–19, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
“Someday He’ll Make It Plain”
This hymn was brought to our knowledge by the Rev Dr Bob Kluttz of Hokkaido Bible Center when he wrote a prayer letter for Berean Joshien (BJ)—the daughter of Dr and Mrs Einstine Opiso—who was in hospital in critical condition. On 14 May 2020, a day after the prayer letter was sent out, BJ went home to be with the Lord. Why did the Lord take her and not heal her? We don’t know, but “Someday He’ll Make It Plain”. The hymn was written by blind musician Adam Geibel (1855–1933) who served as a music teacher at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind. May this hymn bring comfort to your soul:
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