Three Phases of Prayer

By Patrick Hawthorne



And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.  Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:5-10 NKJV)

In Luke 11:1, a disciple comes to Jesus and asks, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  In verse 5 Jesus uses the example of a not-so-good-a-friend who reluctantly honors a friend’s midnight petition in order to not be bothered.  Many have assumed that because Jesus uses this example that He is instructing us to badger God until we get what we want.  If that is how you have read this, please read it again.  Jesus is actually making a contrast between a not-so-good friend who reluctantly answers a request versus God’s eagerness to answer prayer.  Furthermore, Jesus is showing that there is a key to getting our prayers answered.  The key is to understand the three phases known as, “Asking, Seeking, and Knocking.” (Verses 9-10).

Asking (Infancy Phase):  As babes in Christ, we do not know much more than how to ask.  A baby cannot be expected to know where to find the milk; they simply know to ask for the milk.  The infancy stage is the beginning of our learning and is never to be despised.  This is the stage where we begin to learn to ask that we may receive.  It is in this stage where we also learn that we don’t always get what we want.  For example, if a baby were to ask for a butcher knife, would it be wise for the parent to honor that request?

Seeking (Adolescent Phase):  As we mature in our walk with Christ Jesus, we are to move from the infancy phase of simply asking to the phase of seeking.  In the seeking phase we are becoming more mature, more intelligent with our thoughts and prayer.  In this phase we are to still ask, yet to ask according to God’s Word.  We are to seek out the answer.  It is in this phase that we learn, “If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you, ask what you desire and it will be done for you (John 15:6). It is by seeking that we learn and grow further.  It is by seeking that we know that we can have the petitions we ask for because we know that they are according to God’s Word…according to God’s will for us.

Knocking (Adult Phase):  This is the phase where doors are opened for us.  We are living in phases 1 through 3; they are intermingled.  We know that we are to ask, we have sought the will of God according to His Word, and now we are to be persistent and not give up.   The knocking phase is the worship phase which is the highest form of prayer.  This is the phase where we hold fast to our confession made in faith.  This is the phase where we stand and when we have done all, we continue to stand.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, His response was to point out that  prayer is a process that must be learned and developed through a relationship with the Father.  How can a navigator learn to navigate if he is not first willing to learn how to use a compass or read the stars?  Prayer is the most powerful tool available to the Christian.  Yet, unless we learn to use this tool correctly, it will not achieve its desired results.  Be blessed.


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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
12 comments on “Three Phases of Prayer
  1. Nickel Boy Graphics says:

    This was a really great post. I’ve come across and heard messages about this verse, but I’ve never had “Ask, Seek, Knock” explained to me like this. Very eye-opening! Thank you!


  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Its amazing to see the relationship dimension in our prayers and certainly your post made me think about Luke 11 and the stories more closely with the contrasts of closeness and how we are to pray. You’re right, we should pray with worship and persistence.


  3. Jules says:

    Some interesting thoughts that I need to ponder longer – prayer and ‘getting better’ at it is on my heart.

    Good to see you back my friend *hugs*


  4. Wally Fry says:

    Nice treatment of that passage, and welcome back. I am trying to get caught up on my reading!


  5. […] Original post @ […]


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