ASKING AND DOING #697
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (JOH 14:13-14).
We come to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot come to the Father outside of Christ. Outside of Christ, the Father would be a consuming fire. We plead that perfect atonement, that perfect righteousness, that perfect obedience of His Son, imputed to us and imparted in us.
We come to the Father by prayer. As we read in JER 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." When Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the prison, the Lord gave him basically that same command, with the same promise, as we see in our text. Doing comes after asking. You ask and I will do, but He does not do until we ask. My prayer and heart's desire is that some spiritual prisoners who are shut up with some heaviness of spirit, may call out to Him for deliverance from these problems.
Analyze how the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." The glory of the name of the Father should be the first petition of every prayer.
Those who serve under the dominion of sin can see no beauty in One who "was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed," as we see in ISA 53:5. They are the ones who have never learned to see how sin destroys the union and communion between us and God. The attitude of heart of the spiritually blind is revealed in the parable in LUK 19:14, "But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us."
The word name comes from the Greek word onoma, which means a name of authority. This means, when you come to the Father in unconditional surrender to the authority of His Son, He will grant what you ask. However, the attitude of the heart by nature is, We will not have this man to reign over us. This rebellion must be broken.
The gospel call is clearly twofold. An external call goes to all mankind. We see this in PRO 8:4, "Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man." The external call of the gospel goes to all mankind and is met with universal rejection. We see that in PRO 1:24, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded." This same principle is taught in LUK 14:18, "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused."
True prayer is an inclination of the heart. We see in ISA 43:22, "But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel." We also see in ISA 64:7, "And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." Even God's own dear children, when in a backsliding state, are prayer-less. If there is a coldness in the soul, it begins in the prayer chamber. We start becoming cold in prayer when we start becoming cold toward the Lord.
In the first verses of Jonah we read that the Lord had sent a great storm and the men of the ship were striving to save the ship. JON 1:6 says, "So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not." These heathens were calling on their god. They were throwing the stuff of the ship overboard to try to save the ship, but Jonah was in the back of the ship fast asleep. Jonah was fleeing from the Lord. He was in a backsliding condition.
The call to prayer in the name of the Son of God is in surrender to His will, a surrender to the authority given to that name, and it must be effectually applied by the Holy Spirit. This calling is an internal call.
LUK 14:23 says, "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." It is an effectual call, a compulsion that goes with it makes it urgent, and that is the work of grace.
When the Lord creates a new heart, He creates a new desire, and that is when prayer is born. True prayer is only born when the work of grace works a new desire in the soul-when self becomes crucified, when everything of self is cut off and it is a surrender to the authority of Christ.
We are not merely counseled or recommended to pray, but commanded to pray, with importunity, not in a sleepy, lazy fashion, but with urgency. PHI 4:6 says, "Be careful for nothing [do not worry]; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Our supplication must be with thanksgiving because true thankfulness is a true confession of unworthiness.
All prayer must be to the Father in the Name of His Son. 1TH 5:17-18 says, "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." The Father will only accept our prayers if we come to Him in the name of His Son, with a heart of unconditional surrender to the will of God, under the authority of Jesus Christ.
The promise that "whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do," is suitable to every trial a Christian can encounter. When it seems that the Lord has withdrawn Himself, and our sins rise up against us, then we must cry out with David as we see in PSA 61:1-2, "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." His earnest desire was to be led to the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lead me to Christ, he prayed.
Whenever we find we are subject to inclinations toward worldliness, we will find it leads us into those spiritual prisons. PSA 106:15 says, "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." When our hearts grow cold in prayer, and when our hearts start going out to worldly inclinations, the end result is coldness and leanness in our souls. David pleaded that which is promised in our text when he experienced this leanness in his soul. In PSA 86:6-7 he says, "Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me."
We must ask, believing that we shall receive. Unbelief whispers, "What profit is there in calling upon the Lord?" So often Satan will try to convince you your matter is too trivial, or it is too connected with temporal things. In my own life I would start praying about something for my daily life, and then Satan would try and tell me, If you are praying about salvation, the Lord will hear that, but He will not hear when you pray about temporal things, or the thing you are praying about is too small an issue.
We see the same principle from the Apostle Paul in 2CO 12:7, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." A thorn can be so small that it takes a magnifying glass to see it, but it can cause such annoyance. It can seem like such a small thing to others. They may think it is so trivial and wonder why it would even bother you. This does not mean that it is too small a thing to ask the Lord about. Even though it might seem like such a small thing, it is something that you need to come before the Lord with.
The Father is glorified in His condescension to notice us in trifling things. The Lord tells us that two sparrows are sold for a farthing and not one will fall to the ground without the will of the Father. The Lord tells us that not one hair will fall from our head without the will of the Father. The Father takes notice of the small things as well as the great things. In PSA 55:22 we read, "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Great and mighty things point to the fullness there is in the Lord Jesus Christ as we see in JER 33:8, "And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me."
The Father will give the Spirit of Christ to those who ask. If we feel sometimes that the world has such a high place in our hearts, and we feel that we need the Holy Spirit instilled deep into our life and our soul, we must ask, but we must ask in faith, believing that we shall receive.
LUK 11:11-13 says, "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 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 shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Just as surely as you, being evil, would not give a scorpion to one of your own children who asks for an egg, your own heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.
The Lord's promises are often assured before we ask. EZE 36:37 we read, "Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock." We must ask for it in faith, believing, and we must ask in unconditional surrender to the authority of Christ.
See the blessed promises we are commanded to ask for in EZE 36:25-29, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Does that mean that I have to wait till I may believe that the Lord has taken away all my sins before I am allowed to ask? No, we ask that He may do it. If we see that we still have a corrupt heart, we need to ask for that cleansing.
"And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you." He will purge away our sins and save us from the power of sin. The promises are there, but He wants to be asked.
These promises will be fulfilled for His name's sake and not because we deserve it. The Lord has a purpose for this, that the Father might be glorified in the Son.
EZE 36:22-23 says, "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." We sometimes realize how we have brought reproach on God's name.
All these blessings, temporal as well as spiritual, are promised "that the Father may be glorified in the Son." EZE 36:30 says, "And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen." Temporal blessings, that His name may be glorified.
We are admonished to remember our unworthiness. With prayer and thanksgiving we are to make our requests known to the Father, in the name of His own dear Son, and true thanksgiving is a humble acknowledgement of our unworthiness. EZE 36:31-36 says, "Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations." Sometimes when the Lord comes with His richest blessings, it brings our most grievous reflections on our sinful ways.
We need to ask that the Lord will take away all our iniquities, that He will put them behind His back in that sea of everlasting forgiveness. The more we see of our evil ways, the more we see the beauty of the precious sacrifice of Christ. "And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by."
The Lord is also glorified, not only in redeeming us, not only in cleansing us from our sins, but also in how He sustains us in the necessities of this life. "And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it."
The Father is so glorified in His condescending love, first in giving the gift of His Son, and second in making salvation available for such unworthy wretches, and next, in the eyes of the world, in how He provides for His children, the provisions that He gives them.
The trial of our faith is as sure as the promise our faith is set upon. When the Lord says, I will do it, He is going to test our faith to see if we do believe that He will do it. He told Abraham he would have a son, yet he had to wait twenty years. See how Daniel's faith was tried in DAN 2:13, "And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain." Daniel called for a prayer meeting, because he knew that whatever he asked in the name of his Saviour, God would do it. DAN 2:17-18 says, "Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon."
In answer to these prayers of faith, the Lord did "do it." DAN 2:19 says, "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven." In doing so, he brought glory to God. Do you see the blessed there is harmony between that and our text?
When the Lord Jesus healed ten lepers, only one returned to give glory to God. How often do we ask, then receive and put it in our hip pockets and take it for granted? How often do we go back and give glory to God, not only in our prayer chamber, but also in our profession before the saints and the world, and confess that the Lord has granted our request, so that His name should be glorified, because this is the reason that he grants answers to prayers.
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