7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
These verses seem like a continuation of the thought in Matthew 6:25-34 — don’t worry about material things, ask God and He will provide. But Matthew 7:1-6, regarding not judging but being discerning, come in between. Some of the commentaries say that the Lord was telling His disciples here that He will given them the wisdom to know when to judge.
The commentaries all bring James and Paul back to this passage and try to make this mean what they meant when they taught about prayer, but there’s no way the Lord’s hearers at this time could know that further revelation.
This passage fits naturally with such passages as Matthew 18:19 and 21:22, both related to the Messianic Kingdom. We today had better thank God that we do not receive everything we ask God for, even in faith, for the apostle Paul, in Romans 8:26 declares that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought,” and we know that he himself “besought the Lord thrice” that he might be delivered from his “thorn in the flesh,” only to have the Lord assure him: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
But this same apostle assures us that though we may not receive all we ask for in faith, God is working all out for our good (Romans 8:28) and that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). Thus the divine instruction: “Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [guard, defend] your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). — Stam, pages 106-107.
I think Stam has a very good point, because God certainly did NOT give Paul what he asked for, and Philippians 4 certainly does NOT say that He will. To get around this, Christians have come up with the formula that God answers prayer with “yes,” “no” or “wait,” but that’s not Scriptural. That’s just an explanation to get around the fact that God doesn’t currently answer prayer the way Matthew 7 says He will. But He did with His disciples when He sent them out to minister without provisions, and He will in the Millennial Kingdom.