From my July, 2003 Spiritual Journal.
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you: Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Throughout the past few years I've had many people write me regarding their unanswered prayers; serious prayers about serious problems. They couldn't understand why so many of their prayers were left unanswered. For many years I wondered the same thing.
I believed in God. I loved Him. Yet, when i was facing problems that were overwhelming me and turned to Him for help, there was nothing but silence.
I went through some difficult years, years of crying myself to sleep, of being discouraged and sad, of feeling extremely inadequate. I felt myself to be a failure as a Christian- just could not get it right.
One day, I was meditating upon my life, and the sorrows connected to it. I determined that I would not accept that God didn't care what happened to me; decided to study His Word at great length; study harder and longer than I ever had. My former method of study was to read a verse and do a lesson about what I felt God wanted me to learn from it, what He was telling me. But while studying one day I came across Luke 11:9; found myself reading it over and over again. I studied it totally different than I had before. I took each individual word in the verse and made a mental note of its definition. Doing this opened my eyes for the first time; enabled me to understand (why) so many of my prayers had been unanswered.
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss."
I'd definitely asked amiss. I'd prayed about my problems, my needs, which at the time were all about myself. I wanted help with my children, wanted extra money so I could better care for my children. I prayed to feel better, for a good nights sleep, prayed for my family and friends and my enemies too.
...SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND.
I was overlooking the most precious gem in the universe. My prayers were not bad prayers, and God DID want to help me. But I'd narrowed my interest to what concerned me- not God. If we want prayers answered we must first get our priorities straight. We must first (seek to find God); we may know Him and love Him, but how often do we seek His company? We may do our lessons, attend church, pay tithes, pray regularly , help the poor, and perhaps even attend some seminars, but how excited do we get when we know it's time for our 1-to-1 with the Lord?
Are we still thirsty for His Word, like when we first asked Him into our hearts, or have we become smugly indifferent- so satisfied with our spiritual life that we don't miss our private time with Him? We must not allow indifference to settle upon us. We can never give another person that which we have found, but we can make him desire to have what he sees in us.
"Knock And It Shall Be Opened Unto You"
We must draw nearer to God. It says Knock...so the door is closed. We get nervous while waiting; become aware of what's really going on within us. We might not kill, but we're gossipers and liars; we might not steal, but we commit adultery; we might go to church and pay tithe, but we're stubborn, rude, unkind, and self-righteous; we might do our Bible lessons and pray at the family altar, but we have these hidden things nobody knows about except God.|We start to think how dirty our hands are; how dark our hearts, and now we began to truly desire for the door to open, truly desire to be closer to God, recognize now, while facing ourselves just how desperately we need Him.
We knock a little louder- the door does not open. We stand there, sick at heart, so discouraged the river has begun to rise in our eyes. "I must purify my heart" The words float across our mind and we began to pray, more earnestly than ever before. We begin to think about ourselves differently; with honesty, perhaps for the first time in our lives. Now we gaze inwardly- deeply, at our true self. HE sees us with loving eyes, but we are ashamed and disgusted to discover we're not what we've always believed ourselves to be. We, in our honesty, began to grieve for the darkness of our hearts, for the hypocrisy we've lived with, and began to cry aloud for the door to open.
It does not come easy, knocking at the door, having discovered the man/woman, we really are. But we dig deep within ourselves to find courage, and having found a small measure of it, we knock as loudly as we can, and mercifully the door opens.
Faith honors God- God honors our faith.
I've written this entry out in this manner because it is what I experienced this week.