The Bible offers the following promises:
“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
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:31
“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2
A great many Christians expect God to answer their prayers without seeking Him. We are good at asking and some of us are even good at banging on the door but how many of us really seek God?
Maybe the problem is that we really do not know what it means to seek God? The idea of seeking God has an aspect to it of continual seeking or to put it in the vernacular to keep at it. We all go through times where we feel close to God and other times when we experience a distance from Him. Of course this is always of our own making because God never leaves us—we are one the ones who do the moving away.
Seeking in both the Old Testament and New Testament means setting of the mind and heart on God. It is putting our attention on loving God. “Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 22:19
Paul writing to the Colossians states, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
It is little wonder that Paul can write to the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.” Romans 12:2
To seek God is much more than reading a “want list” off before we fall asleep. We need to get our minds off of the things of this world and concentrate our attention on God’s love if we are ever going to trust Him enough to truly seek Him in prayer. To seek God is to give our hearts to Him and trust Him to do the right thing in regards to our prayers.
There is a steadfastness and conscious choice to put our heart in God’s hands when we seek God. In 2 Thessalonians we read these words, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5
We kneel down at night and expect God to answer prayer, but we have no idea of whom we are really speaking to. It is only as we concentrate our attention to His amazing, unconditional love that we have any desire to seek to know and understand Him. And it is only when we know Him that we can love Him, and it is only when we love Him that we can trust Him.
Remember, God is not lost so that we have to seek Him; it is because we so often only see Him through a veil. The reason we don’t see Him more clearly is simply because we don’t take the time or have the inclination to spend time in the Word of God allowing Him to unveil His amazing love for us. God also reveals Himself through the experiences of grace that He is working through others, if we only take time to look and listen.
The next two texts are very important for our understanding of what it means to seek God:
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6
“If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, if you are pure and upright surely then He will rouse Himself for you and reward you with a rightful habitation.” Job 8:5-6
Seeking God involves our calling upon Him and our pleading. The idea of pleading means that we are to continue to seek Him and ask Him to have mercy and reveal Himself to us through our prayers that we should know what is the right course for whatever we are praying for.
The greatest obstacle to our seeking God in prayer is simply our desire to have God answer our prayers the way we want them answered. We very often are only asking God to give us what we desire. He becomes nothing more than a cosmic Santa Clause or an indulgent Candy Man. To seek God is to seek His will and then, and only then, will we “Ask and it shall be given unto you.”
The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Do you see the power of this verse? If we are to seek God’s will in prayer we must believe “He exists” and that He “rewards those who seek Him.” This can only happen when we draw near to Him and that means putting our trust in Him because we believe that He loves us and has only our best interest at heart.
Yes, we can pray for things and think that’s good enough, but we would be missing the mark. Prayer is seeking out God’s will because we trust Him. When that happens we will pray for the things that are important and are in the service of ministry. You can prayer till you are blue in the face and believe with all your might that God will give you the lotto numbers for Friday’s jackpot but that is not seeking God’s will.
When you pray for your children to come to Christ and you put your trust in Him to work in the life of your children believing that He loves them and longs for them to be in the Kingdom He will answer.
To seek God is to call upon Him, plead with Him for mercy in whatever you are praying for, believe He exists, and that He rewards us. It is to trust Him because of His love for us, and our love for Him. It is to seek Him with all our hearts and knock till the door is open.
If we think we can claim the promises in a one-minute prayer crammed in between periods in the Hockey game and then go back to the game we do not understand prayer, God, or what it means to seek Him. If we honestly, for instance, wish our children or spouse to come to Christ, then it is our business to make it a priority in our life and especially in our prayer life. This is not the business of an occasional hurried plea, but the work of a lifetime of prayer.
You have read many times my speaking of my mother in these blogs. She was an amazing inspiration to me and I am not embarrassed to say I still often cry over how much I miss her. She couldn’t begin to talk of the ins and outs of theology but she knew how to pray and seek God for her family.
I remember her night after night kneeling down by my father’s chair and praying for him. She never missed a night of not seeking God’s favor for my brother, sister, and myself. And after we all married she included the spouses and grandchildren in prayer. She prayed three indifferent and fairly difficult to handle children to Christ and in the last days of his life, her husband.
Oh, and after her stroke that left her partially paralyzed and living in a nursing home where her every need had to be met by someone else, she prayed more than ever for us, the staff, and the people in the home.
To seek God is a great deal more than claiming a promise and walking away, it is a commitment to the person you are praying for and it is a commitment to God.
* Please take the time to read some of the stories of Christians who are experiencing persecution for their total commitment to Christ. They need our support and prayers.. http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…