Summary by Grant C Richison
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
We ask for what we do not have. The three commands of this verse are present imperatives: ask, seek, knock. The tense of “ask” is keep on asking. The idea is persistence in prayer. Persistent prayer is no indication of God’s unwillingness to answer prayer. It is an issue of God’s sovereign plan in answer to prayer. The imperative is a command. Prayer is not an option.
and it will be given to you;
God will give us an answer. The responses to the first (ask) and third (knock) commands are in the passive voice; it is God who will do something about our action.
The grammar of “seek” indicates to keep on seeking. The word “seek” is to look for. We seek for what is valuable. When we seek for something of value, our heart is definitely in it. This is the kind of prayer that Jesus prefers.
And you will find;
In this case we do the finding (active voice). Our volition is active here because God wants us involved in the process—we “find” on purpose, not by accident. But we are still recipients because God will let us obtain what we seek. “Find” here is to find on purpose, not by accident. God will let us obtain what we seek.
Again the grammar indicates we should keep on knocking. We knock to be welcomed into an area where we are currently shut out.
And it will be opened to you.
God will open the door (passive voice).
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
The grammar of “asks,” “seeks,” and “knocks” here indicates the process of doing what they are doing (present participles).
The three following verbs (“receives,” “finds,” “opened”) emphasize God’s faithful response to prayer. The language is absolute—will receive, find, open.
The piling up of the verbs of verses seven and eight is very forceful. God does not answer grudgingly but gladly. We do not need to coerce Him to answer prayer. All we need to know is that He answers prayer.
PRINCIPLE: God faithfully answers prayer.
APPLICATION: The walk with God is in part a walk of prayer. The basic idea of prayer is dependence on God, who is faithful to answer prayer. It is the request of someone talking to God. Prayer is not blind desire but communion with a Person that offers the promise of answered prayer. The way of life of the kingdom requires trust in God. The emphasis is on the certainty that God answers prayer. Prayer brings results.
Prayer is not a blank check for getting whatever we ask. It is a not magical custom whereby God functions as a genie. We see God as a genie if we think rubbing the rabbit’s foot will get us what we want. But remember that the rabbit’s foot did not do the rabbit any good.
Matthew Henry's Commentary
Read: Matthew 7:7-11
Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask, as a traveler asks the way. Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls. Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asks, receives, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful.