Jesus seemed to be encouraging a beggar-type culture when he said, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. Because every asker receives. The seeker finds. The knocker gets the open door.” The homeless men I often meet in the city seem to know that about one in every thousand people whom they ask for money will be kind enough to respond positively. But at the end of the day, they will have endured a lot of rejection and abuse, just for the sake of total takings of $20 or $30.
I once had a friend, George, who was an advocate of door-to-door evangelism. He said that the Mormons knew that you would get a positive response in about one out of every 600 homes. So it was just a matter of being faithful enough. But what about the 599 negative responses? Was it justifiable to give 599 people negative experiences in order to give one person a positive experience?
It seems to me that Jesus was not talking about begging or doorknocking; he was actually talking about how we should relate to God. Asking God for something is a matter of faith: do we really believe that God is powerful enough to change the way things are? Do we really have the courage to trust that God can make the future better than the present?