Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are 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! So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:7–12)
This has proved, in my experience, to be one of the most motivating passages in all the Bible to pray with the confidence of being answered.
It's an argument. Even bad dads give good things to their children when they ask. God is not a bad dad. He's the best. Therefore, much more will he give good things to his children when we ask. I love that argument. Jesus really did want us to feel hopeful when we pray. He is trying to overcome our skepticism about prayer.
There's another reason why this is so encouraging for our prayers. He says that a good dad gives "good things" to his children when they ask for what they want. He does not say that he always gives these little children precisely what they ask for. What father ever does? Or ever would? We love our children too much for that.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]