“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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11, NIV)

In uncertain times like these, many people  doubt the power of prayer. Yet as believers, we should strengthen our faith through  praying. Because prayer is a channel that connects us with God and to present our requests to  Him.

A prayer life is closely related to Matthew 7:7, and thus here are three acts of prayer:
1. Ask
This is the simplest level of prayer.  Simply ask and receive it for free.
2. Seek
It takes more effort to pay the price until we receive the prayers’ answers.
3. Knock
Willing to fight for what we pray for even if it takes “blood, sweat and tears.”

These three acts of prayer  require faith because those who ask will continue to seek and will result in a real action. The essence of prayer is  not  giving up. Many people give up before they receive the answers of their prayers,  even though God has provided the answers to your prayers.

Three ways God answers prayers:
1. Receive
God gives us something what we haven’t had  yet, for free.
2. Find
We find that the answer to our prayer  has been around us,  whether or not we are aware of it.
3. The door will be opened
God gives us opportunities or chances, and behind that open door is a miracle that we ask for.

However, do not  be suspicious toward God when He has not answered our prayer. God knows all our problems, our hearts, our situation, and He is never too late. Instead,  be suspicious toward our "prayer proposal:"
1. Bread
2. Stone
3. Snake

Perhaps without us knowing, what we  have been asking  is "snake" or "stone," not "bread." God knows what is best for us. If the answer to our prayers is delayed, it is not Him that holds it back. If what we ask for is "bread," then what actually happens is that He is "leavening" our prayers. God is waiting for the "bread" to fully rise  before He gives it to His children. Therefore, we must develop the art of waiting on God and  understand what we are asking.

Our prayers will start to be answered when we believe, and when God's power begins to work. When we surrender, our hearts are open, our requests to God will not fail. Guard our hearts; because when we guard our hearts, we also guard our prayers.

Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa’s sermon