Knock, knock…no this isn’t the prelude to a corny joke, it is the beginning of an encounter with God in prayer. At times we knock on the door of heaven, seeking an audience with God the Father. We want to know God. We want to enter into his Divine Presence. Jesus has invited us who seek a greater knowledge and relationship with God to knock on the door and it 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.” (Luke 11,10) God the Father wants to be known. He delights in revealing his love for his children. God dwells in the cloud of eternal mystery that lies just beyond that door. God is waiting for us to come to him. He doesn’t force himself upon us and he won’t overwhelm us with his presence. What we can know about God always lies just beyond the door to his eternal abode. If we think that we already know God and that we don’t need to seek him in prayer, then we are mistaken. What we think we know can only be an idol, for God does not conform to any of our limited images of him. To know God we must seek him, ask him to reveal himself to us and persistently knock at he door of his divine heart.
At times we come to God at the invitation of his offer of fellowship with him. At other times he comes to us and knocks on the door of our hearts. He doesn’t want us to remain alone in the empty darkness of our solitude. He knows that our hearts were created with a desire for him and that we will be, as St. Augustine tells us, restless until we rest in his presence. Jesus tells the church, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3,20f) God respects our freedom and he waits at the door of our hearts for us to invite him in. When we hear his voice calling to us in his Eternal Word, Jesus waits for us to open our hearts to him so that we may sit at table with him and be fed on the sustenance of his Word and his True Presence in the Eucharist. He will not force himself upon us but will wait patiently for us to open our lives to the eternal gifts of grace that he has to share with us. Only in him will our souls find rest and peace.
Knock, knock. The disciples of Jesus watched him as he prayed. Prayer was not something new to them as they had grown up reciting the psalms and prayers that were a part of their liturgy of worship in the synagogue and in the temple. The prayer of Jesus was something more. It was a prayer of intimate communion. Jesus did not just recite the traditional prayers of praise and worship but he entered deeply into the presence of the Father. Jesus opened his heart and his entire interior being to the Father and he sought the Father’s being and guidance in everything that he did. When Jesus prayed he said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me” (Jn 11,41f) Jesus always prayed believing that the Father would hear him. The disciples wanted to experience the power of that way of praying and so they asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Lk 11,1)
Jesus was happy to share his life of prayer and intimate communion with the disciples and so he gave them the beautiful prayer that we know as the “Lord’s Prayer”. His prayer began seeking a deeper knowledge of God the Father. “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” We first come to the Lord, asking only for a deeper share in the Divine Life of the Father. We acknowledge the grace and gift of the Holy Name which is the source of our salvation. Jesus instructed the disciples to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6,33) Before we ask for the things that we need, we must first align our will with the will of God the Father. We do not come before the Lord to demand that our will be carried out but that what we ask for is in conformance to his Holy Will for us. Once we have opened the door of our hearts that lead us to his heavenly kingdom then we acknowledge the needs that we have to reach that kingdom. “Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” (Lk 11,4) We acknowledge our dependence upon God’s gracious intervention in our lives. We pray believing that God wants to give us the gifts that we need and that “something more”. “How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Lk 11,13)
Knock, knock. “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Lk 11,9) The door is open, enter into the rest of God.