Today’s lectionary Gospel reading can be found on the web here: Matthew 7:7-12.

Matthew 7:7   “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

This was the first Bible verse that I ever learned as a child. One of my Elementary School teachers, Miss McKenzie, led an after school program called Scripture Union. Each Wednesday, we gathered in the gym hall to sing choruses, watch film strips, and listen to Bible stories. During the meeting, Miss McKenzie asked if anyone had learned a Bible verse and then encouraged them to stand up and recite it in front of everyone. Every student who successfully did this received a Bible picture card from her, so I was determined to do it, too.

I spent a whole week reading, practicing, and reciting the verse in my home. It was important to me to remember it so I could receive a prize. The following Wednesday I had my opportunity and successfully completed the task. As Miss McKenzie handed me my card, she smiled and told me “Well done.” It was just a simple thing, but that precious moment has stayed with me for more than fifty years.

Jesus gives us the same kind of encouragement which is why He taught this lesson in the first place. God’s grace is bountiful so when we sincerely and humbly come to Him with our prayers, He hears our requests and grants us what we need. This makes our faith more than just a religion; it’s a living relationship given to us through the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Point to ponder:

What Bible verses have I learned to recite? How do I practice them in my life?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the source of our blessings and the enabler of our encouragement. Thank You for allowing us to come to You with our prayers, petitions, and requests. Be with us this day and guide all of our decisions. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s Cross drawings called “Celtic Spirit.” If you would like to view a larger version, click here.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.