Luke 11:9-10 (NIV) -- "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
This past week I've been reading a book about some of the well-known faith healers in this country and their techniques. The scandals which troubled a few televangelists years ago haven't affected other televangelists a bit. Without a doubt, some televangelists do believe their own message and try to do a good job. Others are more interested in big money than in God. The world is full of con artists who will shamelessly convince their followers that they are men of God, merely to get at their money.
Human beings have a natural fear of sickness and death, and faith healers take advantage of that fear. Faith healers offer the promise of an escape from disease, if only those who desire healing will show some faith--and usually that means giving money to the faith healer. When Jesus healed the sick, he never demanded money from them as proof of their faith, either before or after he healed them.
Faith healers have found a Bible verse which seems to help them out. Jesus said in Luke 11:9-10, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Faith healers will claim that all you have to do is ask God for healing of your physical infirmity, and God is guaranteed to heal you (provided that you make a large donation, of course).
Is that what Jesus meant? Did Jesus mean that all you have to do is ask for (or claim) anything in the world, and God would be guaranteed to give it to you? Some would say yes. Read all of Luke 11 and you won't be so certain. In Luke 11 Jesus teaches us about prayer. When Christians pray, they certainly ask God for the necessities of life--"Give us each day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3). Yet Christians realize that they have something much more important than earthly goods. Christians have a new, heavenly perspective on life.
When Christians pray, their main focus isn't on the earthly possessions they would like to have or the physical health they desire. Their main focus is the forgiveness God gives them through Jesus. Christian prayer doesn't come from greed, but it comes out of thankfulness to God that they won't have to suffer for their sins forever. Christians are thankful that Jesus died on the cross to earn forgiveness for them and to give them an eternal home in heaven.
When Christians pray, they pray for spiritual blessings--stronger faith through the Holy Spirit, greater understanding of God's Word, faith which lasts to the end of their lives. Those are the blessings Christians ask for when they pray the Lord's Prayer. God promises and gives those blessings to his children whenever they ask for them.
That's what Jesus means in Luke 11:9, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." So what about the physical blessings we ask for? When Christians pray for earthly goods or physical healing, they also recognize that God's will and desires may be different from their own. God may choose not to grant his children wealth or healing. To make our faith stronger or to keep our hopes focused on heaven, God may not give us all our earthly desires. Christians recognize that fact and include it in their prayers: "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."