Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 111, 1898

Prayer and Faith


July 22, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1087; CTr 54; 2MR 26; 5MR 121. +Note

Friday morning. During the night I slept well. At nine o;clock a.m. I attended meeting and presented to the people some reasons why we should exercise faith in the promises of God. If there has ever been a time when we need to have simple faith in God, it is in the year 1898. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 1

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins: for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 2

“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves: for a friend of mine in his journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” [Luke 11:1-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 3

With earnest importunity this man pleads for bread, that he may give to the weary, belated traveler. But he is told, “I cannot rise and give thee.” “I say unto you,” Christ says, “though he refuses to give on the ground of his friendship yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” [Verses 7, 8.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 4

This is a lesson for us. This parable is for our learning. This persistent asking brings the petitioner into a more earnest attitude and gives him an increased desire to receive the things for which he asks. “I say unto you,” Christ says, “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be open.” [Verses 9, 10.] When you pray, know that he who has invited you to ask will not disappoint you if you will press your petitions. The promise of His Word is that if you knock the door will be opened unto you. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 5

“If a son shall ask bread of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” [Verses 11-13.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 6

In this last verse the whole precious assurance is bound up and specified. We are assured that the greatest gift that can be given to men will not be withheld. Christ says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” [Verse 13.] But ask in faith, nothing doubting. It is because of unbelief that so many of our church members are weak. Christ said to Martha at the grave of Lazarus, “If thou wilt believe, thou shall see the salvation of God.” [See John 11:40.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 7

This is the greatest blessing that can be bestowed upon God’s believing children. But many do not have a virtue of a living faith. They think they have faith, but it is only the thought or action of a moment. They do not persevere in knocking at the door and keeping their request before the Lord. It is not a transient thought that is to be given to God. Our prayers are to be fervent and earnest as were the petitions of the needy friend who asked for the loaves at midnight. The more you ask, the firmer will be your spiritual union. You may come into that place where you will have increased blessings because you have increased faith. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 8

While trusting in your heavenly Father for the help you need, He will not leave you. God has a heaven full of blessings that He wants to bestow on those who are earnestly seeking for that help which the Lord alone can give. It was in looking in faith to Jesus, in asking of Him, in believing that every word spoken would be verified, that Enoch walked with God. He kept close by the side of God, obeying His every word. And the record comes down along the line to our time, “Enoch walked with God.” [Genesis 5:24.] His was a wonderful life of oneness. Christ was his companion. He was in intimate fellowship with God. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 9

Enoch prophesied in regard to the last days. He said, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” [Jude 14, 15.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 10

“[Remember] ... how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the spirit.” “But ye beloved,” he [Jude] continues, “building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” [Verses 18-21.] The class that follows this instruction will be prepared to do a work for the Master—just such a work as He has given them an example of in His human life. All who are abiding in Christ, walking in Christ, will do the work of Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 11

“And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire: hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” [Verses 22, 23.] Thus Christ’s followers, will pray and believe and work as Christ worked, relying upon the Holy Spirit, Christ’s representative, for their sufficiency. They realize that they are only the instruments. The Holy Spirit is the power co-operating with them. They can labor with the highest power, for it is God that does the work, and not men. With the tact and methods given of God, they work; and God works with them as a compelling power to save the souls of men, degraded and buried up in self-destroying practices. The Lord is the great Worker to rescue the perishing. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 12

Those who truly labor together with God will not become polluted by the company of those who are corrupt. What is it that saves them? “Unto him who is able to keep you from falling (into crime and pollution with the polluted), and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” [Verses 24, 25.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 13

Pray and believe. Watch, and co-operate with a prayer-hearing God, bearing in mind, that “Ye are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Pray, and watch unto prayer as though it meant everything to you, for it makes every difference to you whether you bear the test, or whether in your prayers you are only observing a form. The man who came to his friend at midnight, had an earnest determination to obtain the loaves of bread, that he might give to the benighted traveler. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 14

This parable illustrates those who are not in a position to give spiritual strength and light to those who are in need. Then as professed followers of Christ, begin just where you are and work to the point. Bread, the Bread of life, you must have if you would give to the spiritually hungry souls around you. Then beseech the throne of grace with a perseverance that will not give up. Plead for the Holy Spirit. Keep saying from the heart, “I present thy word: ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.’” [Luke 11:13.] Urge your petition. Press it in the name of Jesus to the Father, for this name, the name of the Lord Jesus, is signed to your check, and the bank of heaven will acknowledge it. Let us all bear in mind that it is not common matters that we are handling, but sacred things, which mean everything to us. We are dealing with eternal realities. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 15

We must have the right kind of faith, combined with good works. If we have saving faith, we shall indeed see of the salvation of God. Let none of us have a superficial faith which means nothing. Do not say, “This one was prayed for, and saved.” This is misleading. This is not that saving faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Every soul will be tested and proved, and if in the proving any man draws back, he will fail to meet the standard of God. “The just shall live by faith.” They will show their faith by their works. “If any man draw back,” God says, “my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” [Hebrews 10:38.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 16

Where there is a continual faith, there will be a continual co-operation with God in the great work of salvation. Said Paul: “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: As it is written. The just shall live by faith.” [Romans 1:14-17.] “Behold, his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith.” [Habakkuk 2:4.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 17

This is a continually growing faith—growing in earnestness and in corresponding works. Have we a faith that is increasing? Do we believe in God who is back of every promise? Then let us come to God by earnest prayer, in constant distrust of self, and more and increased faith in all that God has promised. This is possible if we will rest ourselves in faith on God. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 18

We read: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” [John 6:66-69.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 19

Here the true believers are distinguished from the pretentious. The disciples who had been but half-hearted believers were made manifest. They were offended at the statement of Christ: “This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living Bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever: and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 20

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth this bread shall live forever.” [Verses 50, 51, 53-58.] These disciples abandoned Christ; they ceased to be publicly identified with Him. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 21

And how many follow in the same track today? It is one thing to profess to be a follower of Christ; it is another thing to do honor to Him by sincere faith, standing with firm purpose of heart as His witnesses, bearing public testimony in His name. It is the application of practical godliness that will strengthen the ranks of the professors of the faith. With many the truth is at first enthusiastically received. Then there come some statements from the Word which are needed for the purification of the soul, and Christ is abandoned by these false disciples. Pride is offended, and Satan’s hellish shadows wraps them about. Thus it has been, and thus it will continue to be to the close of this earth’s history. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 22

Christ identifies Himself with every sincere believer. “As many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] All such are in union with Christ. They identify themselves with Him whom the world has rejected. 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 23

All who hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will be saved. “Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusted in man and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. ... Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is: for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green: and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:5, 7-9.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 24

Then can any one truly say of another, “He is saved”? No; his future life will decide his eternal destiny. If he will walk in obedience to the commandments of the Lord, he will be an overcomer; and Christ says, “To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] Let no one then say that which is not strictly true. We want all our words to be truth and righteousness. “I the Lord search the heart: I try the reins: even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. ... Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” [Jeremiah 17:10, 14.] 13LtMs, Ms 111, 1898, par. 25