How deep the father’s love for us / How vast beyond all measure
That he should give his only Son / To make a wretch his treasure
These words by Stuart Townend express in song what Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, namely that the Father in heaven loves his children and longs for us to come and find our greatest reward in him. Indeed, this is why Jesus Christ came, to bring the Father’s kingdom to earth by means of his death and resurrection. In the new covenant Jesus made a way for sins to be forgiven and for forgiven sinners to enter God’s presence.
In Matthew 7:7–11 specifically, we find another place where Jesus’s focus on the Father teaches disciples about the kind of access they have to God and the kind of prayer our Father in heaven loves to hear. On Sunday considered this passage and how Jesus teaches us to pray.
You can listen to the sermon online. Below you can find discussion questions and additional resources, including the majestic rendition of How Deep the Father’s Love for Us by the Austin Stone Church.
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
- What have you learned about the Father in the Sermon on the Mount? Why is the Father’s place in the sermon so important?
- How does our view of God motivate (or demotivate) prayer? What truths about God the Father have been most encouraging to you? What questions about God’s fatherhood remain?
- How does seeing yourself as a “needy child” encourage you to pray? Why is it difficult to confess such need?
- In the context of Jesus’s Sermon, how should we understand Jesus words to Ask, Seek, and Knock. For “ask” see Matthew 5:42 (“beg” = “ask”) and Matthew 6:8; for “seek” see Matthew 6:33; for “knock” look Matthew 7:13–14; Luke 13:22–30; Acts 12:13.
- When Jesus commands, “Ask . . . Seek . . . Knock!” he is really saying, “Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.” (These commands are present tense imperatives, meaning they are commands to keep praying). How do you do that? How would you encourage young believer to pray without ceasing?
- How does Jesus words in Matthew 7:7–11 relate to Matthew 7:1–6? In what ways do we need wisdom in making judgments (cf. Matthew 18:15–20; 1 Corinthians 5).
- Read 3 John 2. How should we pray for our physical needs? How does the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–14) help us balance our prayers?
- What else do we learn about prayer in these verses?
On the Father
- The Center of the Sermon on the Mount: Twelve Truths About Our Father in Heaven
- Drinking Deeply from Our Father in Heaven: Nine Observations about Giving, Praying, and Fasting (Matthew 6:1–18)
- Life is Good? How God’s Goodness Redefines the Good Life
- Worship God as Father by Stephen Miller
- Father to the Fatherless by Jonathan C. Edwards (@notthepuritan)
On the Prayer
- “Whatever You Ask in Prayer”: A Christ-Centered Re-Reading of a Commonly Misused Verse
- Prayer That Works: Praying to the Father, for the Spirit, to Fill the Church with Christ’s Manifold Love (Ephesians 3:14–21)
- Recommended Reading: Ten Books on Prayer
Soli Deo Gloria, ds