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First Week of Lent. The reading is from Gospel of Mathew 7:7-12.

The Answer to Prayers – Mathew 7:7-12

[Jesus said to his disciples:]

“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;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks,
the door will be opened.

Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?

If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.

“Ask and it will be given to you…” seems to indicate that God will respond to any of our prayers and give us all that we ask for. But we know this cannot literally be true. Each one of us might pray for conflicting gifts, and we know from experience that not everyone gets their prayers answered.

English: A Muslim raises his hands in Takbir, ...

In our places of worship we pray for “peace for the whole world,” but what we see around us is disharmony among our own people and war among nations. We submit special supplications and litanies for “seasonable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth,” and yet there is flood, cold, famine, hunger and poverty. We pray for “the well-being of the holy Churches of God and for the union of all,” but what we see in reality are divisions and schisms among the followers of Christ.

Two women praying in Ukraine, probably Orthodox.

It might turn out that if we pray out of selfishness or for an advantage over our fellows, then our prayer becomes unworthy, and God, who loves us all equally, will not hear our prayer. So, it is understandable that the Almighty would not grant any of our unworthy prayers, but why are even good prayers seemingly unanswered? May be what we pray for might not be good for us after all.

Due to our weakness, our prayers are probably not always perfect, but we are assured by God that he will answer our prayers without fail, but the result may not be exactly as we want. If you are a loving parent will you give a stone to eat when your child asks for bread? Or a snake for a fish? This means that God, in his love for us, will not give us a stone in the place of bread, and from this we can draw the corollary “nor will he give us a stone if we ask for stone instead of bread.

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