We’re looking at contrasts this week, yet my own devotional is worth sharing today. We covered this verse recently, and I think it is worthy to share what I read this morning. It’s from “Voices from the Past Volume I, Puritan Devotional Reading” edited by Richard Rushing. It was a book of the month through Truth for Life, Alistair Begg’s radio ministry. I’ve found this devotional to be very inspiring. Here goes:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. Luke 11:9
If we pray, this is always sure: ‘If we ask, we shall receive.’ The Lord has said it; it is so, it must be so. How can we strengthen our faith to believe this? Consider these: (1.) Through faith in Christ we are sons of God (Gal. 4:6). What a blessed estate! (2.) Since Christ is more than heaven and earth, if Christ is given, God will not deny you anything. (Rom. 8:32). (3.) God is gracious to all his creatures and delights in mercy. (4.) God is all sufficient and omnipotent; he over-rules all, is excellent in knowledge, wonderful in working, and is all-sufficient to save. (5.) Consider how God has been faithful in past times. If once he has heard you in mercy, he will hear you always. (6.) Fathers on earth care for their children; how much more pity, love, and mercy may we expect from our heavenly Father? Remember the great love of David for his rebellious son: ‘O Absalom, my son, my son’, or how Jacob’s life was bound up on the life of his son. Let this truth help stay up our hand in prayer, namely, that our great God has planted this affection in these parents as a type of his own great love. We fear our imperfections, weakness, and manifold infirmities, that God’s hand will hold back good things from us. We cry out ‘O my prayers are lost and to no purpose! O my sins and infirmities will stop the answer to my prayers!’ O man! If a son has sinned greatly and comes home bleeding, broken and freely confesses his sins, do you not embrace him and cry out, ‘O my son, my son!’ How much more our God! Whatever your case, you shall find him exceedingly merciful. When enemies, God sought us and received us; how much more now! O that our faith would get a hold of this that we may learn to wrestle with God, and prevail in prayer!
Richard Sibbes, Works, VII:247-252
I have a prayer that I have been wondering if God will answer. Honestly, I can think of no reason he would deny it. It would glorify God the Father through God the Son. It involves the work of the Holy Spirit. It involves a believer, so we are sharing the same Spirit within us. It destroys the work of the devil. Considering this devotion, I see no reason God would deny it. Let’s stack the referenced scripture up and look them over.
Luke 11:9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
While it is true that I see some sign that God is answering this prayer, it seems to be as if only a toe has wiggled just a smidge. My prayer is for the entire body to dance! Still, I cannot deny the toe. And, I cannot deny all the things Richard Sibbes wrote 400 years ago. Nor can I deny all the times Jesus instructed us on this. Perhaps this hard head of mine needs to see them.
Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 21:21-22 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Mark 11:22-25 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
John 16:23-24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests we have asked of him.
Romans 8:26-30 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, the question I have for myself is this: Do I believe? I’m like this guy:
Mark 9:23-24 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Father, Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” I ask. Make my joy full. I believe; help my unbelief. Thank you. I believe. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers