“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8 NLT)
Terry Fox was diagnosed with cancer in 1977. By that point, it had progressed far enough that the best course of action was to amputate his right leg, but Fox was not discouraged. Forever an optimist, and with a competitive drive and determination that had previously earned him a spot on his college basketball team despite his short stature, Fox was walking with an artificial leg only three weeks after surgery. His experience with cancer and the treatment he received so moved him that he decided to run the entire length of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to raise funds for cancer research. As he said in a letter to the Canadian Cancer Society, “I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.”
Ultimately, after only 143 days and 5,373 kilometers – taking him from Labrador to Ontario – Fox was forced to quit when he could no longer run because his cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. Though the cancer ultimately killed him, Fox never gave up. His determination to finish his run and to raise funds for cancer research still echo today through more than sixty Terry Fox Runs around the world and close to $800 million raised for research.
Terry Fox captured the attention of a nation, and ultimately the world, because he was determined to press forward despite the many setbacks that came his way. Most of us will not face the same kinds of battles he did, but that doesn’t mean we can’t seek to have a similar level of resolve in other areas, such as our prayer lives. Jesus invites us to continually knock on God’s door, telling us that this is how the door is opened to us. It might not be that we end up getting what we were asking for, but the process of continually asking, seeking, and knocking will nonetheless transform us. If we are open his response – which requires treating prayer like the conversation it should be rather than simply a recitation of wants and grievances – asking God to answer our prayers day after day will ultimately reshape our hearts and our desires so they better mirror his own.