My sister and I took our children to the beach at the age we were beginning to let the rope out a little bit. We would let them walk downstairs to the pool together and we would watch them from the balcony or they could ride their bikes around the complex without us. This was the first time they had a taste of freedom on vacation.
One particular instance we called to them from the balcony to come up to the room. They obediently gathered their towels and started back immediately. They were taking a while to get back and just when my sister and I started to worry, we heard banging on the door. We opened it to find our children gasping for breath and hurrying in like someone was after them.
After some questioning, we learned that they had decided to join in the game of “Ding Dong Ditch”. The goal was to ring as many doorbells as possible and run before someone opened the door. They managed to hit multiple floors with the short-lived freedom they had been given. However, the adults lost a little freedom that day as we walked them around to the doors they pranked to apologize.
I recently heard a sermon on 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.” Of the verbs in this verse, knocking seems to be the most aggressive, doesn’t it? The progression of the verbs from ask to seek to knock get more invasive it would seem. Asking is relatively passive. Seeking after something requires slightly more assertion. But knocking until someone opens…that requires perseverance, boldness even.
Knocking in prayer is a persistent pursuit of the same desire; a continual knocking until the door has been opened to you. The parable of the persistent widow is an account of knocking in Luke 18:1-8. Poor and powerless, a helpless widow repeatedly knocked upon the door of the town’s uncompassionate judge with this plea, “Grant me justice against my adversaries.” Her knocking paid off after a while and the uncompassionate judge granted her request.
Jesus followed up this parable with these words, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting him off?” The answer is no. Those who knock, the scripture says, the door will be opened to them. But what if the door is opened and no one is there to walk through? Playing a game of spiritual “Ding Dong Ditch” is fruitless. When we knock over and over for the things that we desire most, but then live contrary to the One who has the power to open the door, we are knocking in vain. God hears your persistent knocking, but if He opens the door and you’re not there, you cannot enter in.
Christian, when we knock, we must stand ready to enter. When the door is opened to us, we must be waiting expectantly. When we are not abiding in Christ with our actions, words and attitudes; if we are off pursuing our own means to our desires then when the door is opened to us, we are nowhere to be found. Persistent knocking is accompanied by patience and presence. Knock and the door will be opened to you; abide and you will be found good and faithful to enter in at the proper time.