Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 31, 1898

“Ask, and It Shall be Given unto You”


March 4, 1898

Previously unpublished.

“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.” In answer to this request, Christ taught His disciples the prayer appropriate to offer to their heavenly Father. “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 everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” [Luke 11:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 1

“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 is come unto 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 much as he needeth.” [Verses 5-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 2

By this illustration Christ sought to inspire His disciples with trust and confidence in God. A man goes to his friend at the unseasonable hour of midnight, asking, “Friend, lend me three loaves.” From within the answer comes, “Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.” [Verses 5, 7.] But the petitioner is asking that he may give again, and he is determined not to be repulsed. He must obtain the bread, else he cannot supply the necessities of the weary, belated wayfarer. 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 3

Christ sought to teach that the one making supplication to God is not to be repulsed. He would have us persevere in asking. We must not cease to intercede with our heavenly Father; for unless we receive grace and spiritual food, we have nothing to give. “I say unto you,” He said, “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.” [Verse 8.] 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 4

Because of the troublesome perseverance of the asker, his friend, to save himself from further inconvenience, will grant his request. Not so with our Lord. He watches over His sheep and lambs by day and by night. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Christ said. “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, he rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” [Matthew 18:11-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 5

“Feed my sheep;” “feed my lambs;” was enjoined upon Peter. [John 21:15-17.] Great is the love of the heavenly Father for every soul for whom Christ has died. He never slumbers nor sleeps. He hears the prayer of the humble suppliant, and freely grants His blessing. He never turns away unblessed those who seek Him with the whole heart. In the parable the request of the one who asked was for a time refused; “but I say unto you,” said Christ, “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 opened. If a son shall ask bread of any 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 ask an egg, shall he offer him a scorpion? 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.” [Luke 11:9-13.] 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 6

How important it is that parents give good gifts to their children, encouraging every good impression and conviction, teaching them the way of the Lord. No argument is so strong in the home life as the argument of an earnest, willing obedience to the truth. A solemn responsibility rests upon parents to teach their children, line upon line and precept upon precept, the truth of God as revealed in His commandments. 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 7

The Lord tries our faith. This is for our good. Thus He would encourage us to press our petitions to the throne of grace. If we ask, feeling our great necessity for grace and for an intelligent knowledge of the truth, that we may have to give to those who are in need of the bread of life, we shall receive abundant supplies of grace. But if we ask for spiritual blessing, not that we may make others happy, but because we selfishly desire to please ourselves, we shall not receive the heavenly gift. If we ask that we may impart to others, if we approach God with humility, sincerity, and persevering faith, we may claim His promise. 13LtMs, Ms 31, 1898, par. 8