What else do we need in our churches that we are not receiving? Do we lack suitable candidates for church office? Or those for missions? Do we lack Sunday school teachers or church workers? If so, it is because we are not asking. Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into the harvest" (Matt. 9:37-38). 

The second obvious teaching of these verses is that even if we are Christians, we must ask for the thing that God promises. This section of God's Word contains the positive statement of the principle ("Ask, and it shall be given you”). James 4:2 contains the negative statement ("Ye have not, because ye ask not"). But the teaching of both texts is identical. God delights to give good gifts to His children. Hence, if we do not have them, the fault does not lie in God. It lies in our failure to ask things of Him. 

If we are to exercise the spiritual discrimination and judgment that Christ was talking about in verse six ("Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine"), then we must apply verses 7-11 to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ only. We must read the verse this way: "Ask [you who are born again], and it shall be given you [who are born again]; seek [you who are born again], and you [who are born again] shall find; knock [you who are born again], and it shall be opened unto you [who are born again]." Prayer is for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ only. 

If a young man wants to ask his father for something, he will pattern his request on the nature and the temperament of his father. If the father is ill-tempered and stingy, the young man will ask for little. He will take care to present his need in the most winsome and unobjectionable manner. If the father is good-natured and is generous, the child will present his need openly and with great confidence. 

Now I have really dealt with the problem of spiritual discrimination, unpleasant as it may have been. But before we end this study we can note a few entirely different but very pleasant things suggested by the word "pearls."