Today, we will be considering the prayer of “Petition”. How often we go to prayer meetings without really asking for anything! Our prayers go all round the world, without anything definite being asked for. We do not expect anything. Many people would be greatly surprised if God did answer their prayers. I remember hearing of a very eloquent man who was leading a meeting in prayer. There was not a single definite petition in the whole. A poor, earnest woman shouted out: “Ask Him summat, man.” How often you hear what is called prayer without any asking! “Ask, and ye shall receive.”
I believe if we put all the stumbling blocks out of the way, God will answer our petitions. If we put away sin and come into His presence with pure hands, as He has commanded us to come, our prayers will have power with Him. In Luke’s Gospel we have as a grand supplement to the “Disciples’ Prayer,” “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking.
The only way to trouble God is not to come at all. He encourages us to come to Him repeatedly, and press our claims. Consider further:
“Watchman, what of the night?” Isaiah 21:11
What enemies are abroad? Errors are a numerous horde, and new ones appear every hour: against what heresy am I to be on my guard? Sins creep from their lurking places when the darkness reigns; I must myself mount the watch-tower, and watch unto prayer.
Our heavenly Protector foresees all the attacks which are about to be made upon us, and when as yet the evil designed us is but in the desire of Satan, He prays for us that our faith fail not, when we are sifted as wheat. Continue O gracious Watchman, to forewarn us of our foes, and for Zion’s sake hold not thy peace.
“Watchman, what of the night?” What weather is coming for the Church? Are the clouds lowering, or is it all clear and fair overhead? We must care for the Church of God with anxious love; and now infidelity is threatening, let us observe the signs of the times and prepare for conflict.
“Watchman, what of the night?” What stars are visible? What precious promises suit our present case? You sound the alarm, give us the consolation also. Christ, the polestar, is ever fixed in His place, and all the stars are secure in the right hand of their Lord.
But watchman, when comes the morning? The Bridegroom tarries. Are there no signs of His coming forth as the Sun of Righteousness? Has not the morning star arisen as the pledge of day? When will the day dawn, and the shadows flee away? O Jesus, if Thou come not in person to Thy waiting Church this day, yet come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy.
“Now all the earth is bright and glad
With the fresh morn;
But all my heart is cold, and dark and sad:
Sun of the soul, let me behold Thy dawn!
Come, Jesus, Lord,
O quickly come, according to Thy word.”
I heard something the other day that cheered me greatly. Prayer had been made for a man for about forty years, but there was no sign of any answer. It seemed as though he was going down to his grave one of the most self-righteous men on the face of the earth. Conviction came in one night. In the morning he sent for the members of his family, and said to his daughter: “I want you to pray for me. Pray that God would forgive my sins; my whole life has been nothing but sin—sin.” And all this conviction came in one night. What we want is to press our case right up to the throne of God and get answers from Him who can do all things and the whole earth be filled with His glory read more:
“Let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:19
This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of faith, and there are times when a prayer for one man is enough to stagger us. But how far-reaching was the psalmist’s dying intercession! How comprehensive! How sublime! “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory.” It doth not exempt a single country however crushed by the foot of superstition; it doth not exclude a single nation however barbarous.
For the cannibal as well as for the civilized, for all climes and races this prayer is uttered: the whole circle of the earth it encompasses, and omits no son of Adam. We must be up and doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavour, as God shall help us, to extend the kingdom of our Master. Are there not some who neglect both to plead and to labour?
Reader, is it your prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Behold the Lord of Life nailed to a cross, with the thorn-crown about His brow, with bleeding head, and hands, and feet. What! can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of God, without feeling within your bosom a marvellous adoration that language never can express?
And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience, and know that He has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you start from your knees and cry, “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.” Can you bow before the Crucified in loving homage, and not wish to see your Monarch master of the world? Out on you if you can pretend to love your Prince, and desire not to see Him the universal ruler.
Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy which has been extended to you may bless the whole world. Lord, it is harvest-time, put in Thy sickle and reap.
Maybe this story of a wife in far away England who had an unconverted husband will encourage you. She resolved that she would pray every day for twelve months for his conversion. Every day at twelve o’clock she went to her room alone and cried to God. Her husband would not allow her to speak to him on the subject; but she could speak to God on his behalf. It may be that you have a friend or relation who does not wish to be spoken with about his salvation; you can do as this woman did—go and pray to God about it. The twelve months passed away, and there was no sign of his yielding. She resolved to pray for six months longer; so every day she went alone and prayed for the conversion of her husband. The six months passed, and still there was no sign, no answer.
The question arose in her mind, could she give him up? “No,” she said; “I will pray for him as long as God gives me breath.” That very day, when he came home to dinner, instead of going into the dining room he went upstairs. She waited, and waited, and waited; but he did not come down to dinner. Finally she went to his room, and found him on his knees crying to God to have mercy upon him. God convicted him of sin; he not only became a Christian, but the Word of God had free course, and was glorified in him. God used him mightily. That was God answering the prayers of this Christian wife; she knocked, and knocked, till the answer came.
Beloved are prepared to pray for someone that must be drawn to the Lord this day or a group of people trooping to hell daily. Help save a soul today and you will be glad you did, heaven will surely reward you for such an act. Forget not the story of the loss sheep, the Lord did not rest till He found it, how come you are at ease in Zion? Your case maybe different but there is nothing new under the surface of earth, My God is more than able to do all that you required of Him. Press unto heaven; don’t give up till you receive answer.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu