Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” This verse suggests three levels of intensity in prayer: asking, seeking, and knocking.
The first level, asking, is where prayer begins. Anyone can ask—even a small child. In fact, children tend to ask for things in prayer more than adults. But God wants us all to ask, and often. Jesus told His disciples to ask for things in prayer so that their joy would be full—that is, so that they would receive joy in seeing God answer their prayers (Jn. 16:24). Likewise, the book of James (Ja. 4:2-3) suggests that we ask for things whenever we desire them, as long as our requests are according to His will.
A second level of earnestness is seeking. According to Wesley Duewel, “[This level] searches to find possible reasons why the answers to prayer may have been hindered… [It] involves heart searching.”5 Seeking in prayer is also, no doubt, an intense yearning for God—seeking to find His will, seeking to feel His heart.
The third level of earnestness is knocking. Knocking is being persistent with God. It is praying as Jesus did, with loud crying and tears (Heb. 5:7). Says Duewel, “[Knocking is] storming the gates of heaven,”6
Jesus implored us to use all three of these levels of prayer. For He says to us, “Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:8).
5 Wesley L. Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer. P. 173.
6 Ibid., p. 178.