Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 12: Asking to Give
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In the parable the petitioner was again and again
repulsed, but he did not relinquish his purpose. So our
prayers do not always seem to receive an immediate answer;
but Christ teaches that we should not cease to pray. Prayer
is not to work any change in God; it is to bring us into
harmony with God. When we make request of Him, He
may see that it is necessary for us to search our hearts and
repent of sin. Therefore He takes us through test and trial,
He brings us through humiliation, that we may see what
hinders the working of His Holy Spirit through us.
There are conditions to the fulfillment of God's promises,
and prayer can never take the place of duty. "If ye love
Me," Christ says, "Keep My commandments." "He that
hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that
loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to
him." John 14:15, 21. Those who bring their petitions to
God, claiming His promise while they do not comply with
the conditions, insult Jehovah. They bring the name of
Christ as their authority for the fulfillment of the promise,
but they do not those things that would show faith in Christ
and love for Him.
Many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the
Father. We need to examine closely the deed of trust
wherewith we approach God. If we are disobedient, we
bring to the Lord a note to be cashed when we have not
fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us.
We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfill
them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name. [p. 144]
The promise is "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide
in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto
you." John 15:7. And John declares: "Hereby we do
know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But
whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God
perfected." 1 John 2:3-5.
One of Christ's last commands to His disciples was
"Love one another as I have loved you." John 13:34. Do
we obey this command, or are we indulging sharp, unchristlike
traits of character? If we have in any way grieved or
wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault and
seek for reconciliation. This is an essential preparation
that we may come before God in faith, to ask His blessing.
There is another matter too often neglected by those
who seek the Lord in prayer. Have you been honest with
God? By the prophet Malachi the Lord declares, "Even
from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine
ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and
I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye
said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet
ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed
Thee? In tithes and offerings." Mal. 3:7, 8.
As the Giver of every blessing, God claims a certain
portion of all we possess. This is His provision to sustain
the preaching of the gospel. And by making this return to
God, we are to show our appreciation of His gifts. But if
we withhold from Him that which is His own, how can we
claim His blessing? If we are unfaithful stewards of
earthly things, how can we expect Him to entrust us with
the things of heaven? It may be that here is the secret of
But the Lord in His great mercy is ready to forgive,
and He says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, [p. 145] that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now
herewith, . . . if I will not open you the windows of heaven,
and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room
enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer
for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of
your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before
the time in the field. . . . And all nations shall call you
blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord
of hosts." Mal. 3:10-12.
So it is with every other one of God's requirements.
All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God
has a heaven full of blessings for those who will co-operate
with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim
the fulfillment of His promises.
But we must show a firm, undeviating trust in God.
Often He delays to answer us in order to try our faith or
test the genuineness of our desire. Having asked according
to His word, we should believe His promise and press our
petitions with a determination that will not be denied.
God does not say, Ask once, and you shall receive. He
bids us ask. Unwearyingly persist in prayer. The persistent
asking brings the petitioner into a more earnest attitude,
and gives him an increased desire to receive the things for
which he asks. Christ said to Martha at the grave of
Lazarus, "If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the
glory of God." John 11:40.
But many have not a living faith. This is why they do
not see more of the power of God. Their weakness is the
result of their unbelief. They have more faith in their own
working than in the working of God for them. They take
themselves into their own keeping. They plan and devise,
but pray little, and have little real trust in God. They
think they have faith, but it is only the impulse of the
moment. Failing to realize their own need, or God's [p. 146] willingness to give, they do not persevere in keeping their
requests before the Lord.
Our prayers are to be as earnest and persistent as was
the petition of the needy friend who asked for the loaves at
midnight. The more earnestly and steadfastly we ask, the
closer will be our spiritual union with Christ. We shall
receive increased blessings because we have increased faith.
Our part is to pray and believe. Watch unto prayer.
Watch, and co-operate with the prayer-hearing God. Bear
in mind that "we are labourers together with God." I Cor.
3:9. Speak and act in harmony with your prayers. It will
make an infinite difference with you whether trial shall
prove your faith to be genuine, or show that your prayers
are only a form.
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