TODAY’S gospel reminds us of Jesus’ assuring promises on a believer’s prayer, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you.”

Receiving an answer for a prayer is indeed a wonderful experience. It affirms our faith in the love and mercy of an all-powerful God who gives special attention to our needs, small as we may be compared to his omnipotence and insignificant as we are in the midst of his glorious existence.

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There are times, however, when we do not get the answers we want in prayer; we ask for one thing but receive another thing, or sometimes we seem not to get any answer at all. Faced with such situation we ask, “Whatever happened to the promise on asking, seeking and knocking?”

The truth is that the promise is never broken; it always holds true for God’s children. In the Bible Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away” (Luke 21:33). What we often do not understand is that God answers our prayers in what he knows and sees is best for us, not in what we think is best for our selves. One thing sure, he will not give anything that in the long run will harm us, work to our disadvantage or pull us away from his love. As the gospel says, “Who among you will give his son a stone when he asks for bread or a snake when he asks for fish? If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11)

God is not a genie who is obliged to grant us anything we wish for. Neither is he like some human fathers or mothers who spoil their children with things that bring temporary gratification but long-term pain or suffering. In dealing with our prayers, God looks at the total picture, not just at a snapshot of our lives.

What then is our obligation in this respect? To continue praying…. To pray without ceasing, trusting that God, in his infinite wisdom listens to all our prayers and gives us the best answer at the best time, at the best place, and at the best circumstances. As we pray, let us not forget, “Our Father knows best.”