Let’s begin answering your good question by reading Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

Prayer is such a wonderful privilege.  It is our way of communicating with the Lord.  Whether we pray aloud or pray silently in our hearts, the Lord hears, and He moves.  In the above verses we are assured that “every one that asketh receiveth.”  Let’s be clear, though.  We are not told that “every one that asketh receiveth what he asks for.”  When we ask of the Lord, He answers according to His love, His power, and His perfect will for our lives.  James 1:17 tells us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  What the Lord gives to us is ALWAYS good and perfect…even when it seems otherwise.  In actuality, if the Lord does not give us what we ask for, He gives us something better!

We have as an example in this portion of a father that is being asked for a loaf of bread by his son.  Surely, the father would not give him a stone, something that might resemble a loaf of bread, but is not edible.  That would be a mockery of his needs.  If he asks for a fish, surely the father would not give him a snake, something that would be harmful instead of needful.  Instead of helping his son, these things would hurt his son.  If a natural father knows how to give ‘good gifts’, surely our Heavenly Father will give ‘good things’ to those who ask Him.  ‘Good things’ are those things that will truly benefit us in the long run.

We should be thankful that when we seek things from the Lord, He responds with LOVE and PURPOSE.  We often do not know what is best for us because we do not know what a day may bring…the Lord does.  Perhaps what we ask the Lord for could cause us harm.  For example, consider the prayer of Solomon in Proverbs 30:8-9, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  He wisely DOES NOT ask for riches, realizing that he would be prone to deny his need of the Lord.  He wisely DOES NOT ask for poverty, realizing he would be prone steal and dishonor the name of the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord wants us to do without, so that we can sympathize with those who are really poor.

Perhaps the Lord allows our sicknesses to continue so that we can truly know what suffering is like.

Perhaps the Lord seems silent to us because He is taking us through some difficult trials that will work to strengthen us for some future service.

We have this precious assurance in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”  (369.4)