Ask and it shall be given to you
Mat 7:7-8 "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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
To understand these two verses we need to look into the whole counsel of God so that we can find the right interpretation.
Ask - means prayer, intercession or petition to the Lord.
1John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Our Lord will hear us when our prayers are in line with His will.
Why Prayers not Answered?
Mat 7:9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
When our children ask for bread, we will immediately feed our hungry children. Similarly, when we pray for bread (jobs to provide food for the family), our Father in heaven will always provide.
But, if the son asks for bread which in God's eye is a stone, which will choke him to death, He will not give it to him no matter how much he pleads. (example - a youth (esp. girls) wanting a job in bars, gaming dens, and places of sins where temptations and sins are abound)
Mat 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Fish is tasty and nutritious. If a faithful and able brother comes before the church and ask for prayer to fill the vacant GM or CEO position, the whole church will pray and fast for him because he can use get his staff to volunteer ferry the children to Sunday schools and also get his staff to be exposed to Christianity.
But God sees that the fish is actually a snake which will kill him for this new job will require him to travel a lot and also to entertain clients in night clubs, and other sinful places. It will only be a matter of time before he joins his important business clients in sexual immorality or heavy drinking.
God can also see that it will not be long before he becomes an alcoholic, womaniser, and other addictions and will soon lose his passion and love for his family and God.
If you, who are his father, know that this job will destroy your son's life, future, family and happiness will you allow him to take up this job? Similarly, no matter how long the church had prayed or fasted, God will not answer their prayers nor send his beloved child to damnation.
From the above scriptures, our loving Father in heaven will not give us things that are non beneficial, damaging or destructive in our walk to holiness.
John 16:23-24 "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
Our Lord promised His Apostles that whatever they asked, He would grant them.
Note - just before His crucifixion, this was the last instruction to His Apostles, who had given up all earthly possessions to follow Him.
Our Lord would grant these godly Apostles' prayers because they would not ask for material blessings but His love, grace and truth and His empowerment to overcome temptations and deceptions so that they could be transformed into His image.
Brethren, all our prayers for bread, fish, provisions, blessings, healing, jobs, successes, restorations, etc. are excellent in our own sight, but unfortunately in God's sight, majority of these requests are either stones or snakes, which can kill or destroy us.