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ASKING AND RECEIVING

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ASKING & RECEIVING

Matthew 7:7–11 NIV
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

INTRODUCTION:

1. All of us had experiences where it seemed that God didn’t answer our prayers.
2. We have all prayed for things maybe for days, weeks, months, or even years and haven’t seen anything change.
3. But Jesus says in verse 7, “ask, and it WILL be given to you.”
And then in verse 8 He says, “everyone who asks receives.”
4. So, if that’s not our experience - What’s the problem?
5. We know the problem isn’t God.
We know that God is true & His Word is true.
God has promised to hear & answer prayer
6. So, what keeps us from receiving answers to our prayers.
7. Tonight, I want to share with you 6 keys on how to receive from God.

1) ASK 

Matthew 7:7–8 NIV
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:11 NIV
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
1. Jesus makes it clear that God is ready to answer our prayers.
He didn’t say it MIGHT BE GIVEN or you MIGHT FIND or it MIGHT BE OPENED.
JESUS SAID THOSE THINGS WILL BE DONE.
He said with absolute certainty that IF YOU ASK, YOU WILL RECEIVE.
2. SO, the first step to receiving is to start asking.
Jesus said, those who ask receive.
NOTE: You can’t receive anything if you don’t ask.
That’s not profound…That’s not difficult to understand.
But to put it plainly - If you don’t pray, you can’t receive.
NOTE: An un-offered prayer is always an unanswered prayer.
James 4:2 NIV
2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
Ask not and you get not…If you don’t ask, God doesn’t answer.
And the truth is most Christians don’t pray…and if they do, it’s only when crisis hits…and that kind of praying usually won’t be that effective.
3. The 1st key to receiving from God is asking.

2) HAVE FAITH

1. Believing that God hears and answers is an essential key to receiving answers to our prayers. 
James 1:5–8 NIV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
NOTE: Faith is the key to receiving from God.
James says if you don’t ask in faith, you shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.
2. But how do I ask in faith?
Mark 11:24 NIV
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
By faith, you have to believe that you already have it.
But where does faith come from? Faith comes from God’s Word.
So, find out what God says in His Word…and then stand on what God says & rely on the fact that God will always do what He said He would do.
(Illus. Abraham gives us an example of us this when God told him he would have a son in his old age.)
Romans 4:20–21 NIV
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
NOTE: Asking in faith is an essential key to receiving answers to our prayers.
If you pray and believe - you receive…but if you pray and doubt - you’ll do without.
But acting in faith is also essential to answered prayer.
3. James says “faith w/o works is dead."
NOTE: There may be times that you will have a part to play in the answer to your prayer.
There may be something that God wants you to do before He does anything.

3) SEEK GOD’S WILL

Prayer is not a blank check where we can ask God to do anything we want Him to do.
If prayer is going to be answered it must be according to His will.
James 4:3 NIV
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
1. When we ask amiss or ask wrongly…God says no.
But when we ask in line with His will…He always says yes.
1 John 5:14–15 NIV
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1. God’s will is not some mystical, unknowable thing.
God reveals His will to us in the pages of the Bible.
The Bible reveals God’s words, which explain how He wants us to live.
It is God’s will for us to understand the truths of the purpose of life and what He is doing when He gives us access to that knowledge.
It is God’s will for us to claim the promises He has given us in His Word.
2. So, what are some of His promises that is His will for us to claim?
The Lord’s prayer ― gives a number of examples (Matthew 6:9-13):
Give us this day our daily bread (provide our needs).
Forgive us our debts (sins).
Do not lead us into temptation (help us be alert to avoid situations that lead to sin).
Deliver us from the evil one (help us overcome Satan’s influences in our lives).
3. Other promises include:
Wisdom
James 1:5 NIV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Provision
Philippians 4:19 NIV
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
All things working out for good
Romans 8:28 NIV
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Peace of God
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
And there are many more promises in the Bible…and it is God’s will for us to claim these.
NOTE: If we come to Him asking anything that is according to His will, He hears us…and He answers immediately but we MAY NOT SEE THE ANSWER IMMEDIATELY.
Mark 11:24 NIV
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
When you believe you have it by faith…you WILL have it in the natural - It could be a day, a week, or a month.
Daniel 9:3 NIV
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
Daniel 9:20–23 NIV
20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:
Daniel 10:2–3 NIV
2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Daniel 10:10–14 NIV
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
4. In chapter 9, Daniel prayed a prayer, and while he was still praying, his answer to prayer came in the form of Gabriel giving him “skill and understanding” in the thing he desired.
That’s a quick answer to prayer, but in verse 23, Gabriel says that God had sent him at the beginning of his prayer.
God moved instantly, but it took a little time for the answer to appear in the physical realm.
5. In Daniel 10, he prayed & fasted 21 days...and his answer took three full weeks to manifest.
Most people would say, “I wonder why God answered that first prayer in just a short time, and the second prayer took three weeks.
But in Daniel 10:12, we find that God answered the second prayer instantly too.
NOTE: God wasn’t the variable.
In this case, it was a demonic force, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” that had hindered the answer to Daniel’s prayer.
NOTE: Whether it’s Satan or people’s wills or unbelief or any number of other possible hindrances, it’s important that you know that it’s not God who is always so unpredictable.
God hears you the moment you pray…and if you pray in faith & in line with His will…God answers yes immediately.
It could be that your answer is being blocked by Satanic hindrance…or people refusing to be obedient…or it could even be that you’re not being completely obedient.

4) OBEDIENCE 

1 John 3:22 NKJV
22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
Psalm 34:15 NIV
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;
1. A simple definition of righteous is “doing what is right” (Webster’s New World Dictionary).
2. Godly righteousness then is doing what is right in God’s sight, or, as John wrote, doing “those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
3. God wants us to obey Him…and keep His commandments and as a result, He rewards our obedience.
In fact, our obedience is evidence of our love for Him.
John 14:15 NIV
15 “If you love me, keep my commands.
1 John 5:3 NIV
3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
NOTE: We can’t live in disobedience & expect God to answer our prayers.
If we’re not pleasing Him with how we live, our praying will not be effective.

5) BE PERSISTENT

Matthew 7:7 NIV
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
1. The words “ask,” “seek,” & “knock” are in the continuous tense meaning that we are to ask & keep asking…seek & keep seeking…knock & keep knocking.
In other words, we are to persevere/persist in prayer.
2. This doesn’t mean that we beg & plead with God until we wear Him out & He gives in…It means that we don’t give up praying.
3. To pray persistently, you have to stand on what the Word says…ask God for it and believe that it’s yours…and thank Him for it.
And do it consistently until the answer manifests in your life.
NOTE: What we pray for persistently demonstrates what’s important to us…and it shows what we’re really believing God for.
(ILLUS. If your child asks you just once for a bicycle—then seemingly forgets about it and never brings the subject up again, how badly do you think they wanted a bicycle? Not too badly.)
But in prayer, you persist until God answers.
NOTE: Sometimes praying once can be enough…but most of the time it takes perseverance.

6) FORGIVE OTHERS

Mark 11:25–26 NKJV
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 5:23–24 NIV
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
1. If our relationship with others isn’t right, then our relationship with God isn’t right…and our prayers will be hindered.
2. Holding on to grudges, bitterness, & past hurts will hinder you from praying effectively.
But not only will our praying be effected…it also says, if we withhold forgiveness - God won’t forgive us.

CONCLUSION:

1. There’s more that could be said about how to receive from God.
2. Unconfessed sin is a hindrance to receiving from God.
3. Also, we are to go to the Father in the name of Jesus.
John 15:16 NIV
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
John 16:23–24 NIV
23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
When we pray in His name, we pray with His authority.
His name gives us access & authority to make requests of the Father.
Iow’s, w/o Jesus we can’t go to God in prayer.
NOTE: You can pray & you can receive.
It is God’s desire to hear & answer you.
Let’s pray!
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