Ask, Seek, Knock, Find… What?

Quite a few years ago while working with RCIA inquirers, I have a vivid memory of a young woman who never prayed. She was self-sufficient, a small business owner – a very confident and intelligent woman. Her participation with RCIA was in preparation to marry a Catholic man. I believe at the start of her journey it was only to make her fiancé’s family happy that there would be a “Catholic” wedding – Mass and Holy Communion.

In our sessions, we often spoke of the need for/the power of prayer. She didn’t believe in prayer. Her take on it was that people who prayed are weak individuals who rely on prayer to relieve their sense of insecurity, that all individuals should be self-sufficient and confident enough in their lives that prayer shouldn’t be necessary. This was a challenge for our RCIA team. How does one convince someone of the need for prayer when, to that person, prayer is so foreign?

As time went on many of the team, as well as her fellow RCIA members, spoke of their prayer and tried very hard to convince her that relying on God, relying on Our Savior for what we seek, is a good thing. Were all their prayers answered? Certainly not. At least not in the way this young woman would have expected. What you pray for is what you get! If you don’t get what you ask for, why pray?

Sometime later, near the end of her time with us, there was a crisis in her life. Without going into detail, she discovered that she, during this crisis, had nothing to support her – her self-reliance and confidence would not pull her through the situation. It wasn’t enough. She prayed! She found strength. And she found it even though she was unfamiliar with prayer, but she learned enough from those with whom she journeyed, that her first foray in the spiritual realm of prayer became comfortable. She was then able to share that with us and thanked the others for all she had learned. It was quite the year leading up to her reception into the Church at Easter.

Jesus says in today’s Gospel:  “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Do we take him literally? Yes, we should. Perhaps what we are seeking is good for us, perhaps not. Perhaps we are knocking on the right door, perhaps not. Perhaps we are asking for something necessary to our lives, perhaps not. But who makes these distinctions? God does! He is waiting for you to SEEK Him, and him alone; He is waiting for you to ASK to be one with his divine will; He is waiting for you to KNOCK on the door of the Sacred Heart of his Son. Therein will you find your needs fulfilled.

Prayer is never a futile effort. Our all-knowing, all-loving God, will only give us what is good for us according to his perfect will, and we must trust that he knows best. We should never stop seeking, asking or knocking because that effort increases our trust in God, strengthens our faith. His first gift to us will be his love. The rest will follow once we recognize that what we are receiving from God is exactly what we need, even if it was not what we imagined.

Our prayer does not change God, nor does it change his mind. Prayer changes us. Prayer brings us closer to God’s will, closer to our Savior’s comfort and love. When the rest of the world puts up its big hand to keep us at bay, God never will. He will listen, and he will show us how to seek what is needed, knock on the right doors and ask for the blessings that will lead us to his eternal presence.

God Bless.

Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles. You can contact her at