(On Prayer 12)
-- Luke 11:10
words of the
The Master disclosed the value of praying persistently in His discourse about the man asking three loaves at midnight. There is something much more encouraging in His teachings about prayer than we find in the words of the reluctant neighbor, who said, "...Trouble me not: the door is now shut..." Our Lord would have us understand that the goodness of our heavenly Father far exceeds the goodness of the sleepy man. The Master is teaching us that we can prevail in prayer in spite of the discouragements and difficulties confronting us in life.
The bread so desperately needed to satisfy the hunger of the weary wayfarer was on the other side of the closed door. Much depended on the importunate pleading and insistent knocking on the part of the man seeking bread. If he had been discouraged by his friend's gruff words, "...Trouble me not...," he would have gone away defeated and empty handed. If he had believed that his drowsy friend had spoken his final word when he said, "...The door is now shut...," he would have departed with a deep sense of frustration and failure.
Our heavenly Father will never rebuff his praying children, saying, "...The door is now shut..."Jesus is teaching us to pray with unwavering faith and firm confidence. He inspired us with dauntless courage to pray persistently when He said, "...To him that knocketh it shall be opened."
The Saviour's heartening words imply that a vast realm of truth will be opened unto us when we knock at the door of the Father's house. It will enhance our understanding concerning the possibilities of prayer if we will devote some time to study what the Saviour has said about the open door set before His people.
Jesus identified Himself as being the door when He said,
"I am the door: by me if any man will enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." -- John 10:9
His astonishing words enable us to comprehend more completely the truth about prevailing prayer.
Christ is the door. He is the only entrance to God, and the only entrance to salvation. When we put Him in the promise regarding our persistent knocking in prayer we can perceive the truth. We can interpret the assuring promise as saying, "To him that knocketh, Christ, the Door, shall be opened." In other words, Christ will open Himself to us in answer to prayer. This is a blessed truth to contemplate. Christ opens His loving heart to His praying people. He opens His eternal hope to His praying people. He opens His enduring holiness to His praying people. He opens His invincible strength to His praying people. In the light of this Divine revelation, one is constrained to say,
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" -- Rom. 11:33.
It has pleased the Lord to open His immutable purpose to His faithful saints and enable them to see His ultimate triumph over sin and death. He opens the gates of eternal life, the greatness of enduring love, and the glory of His likeness to His praying family. Through prayer we can enter into the joys of an uttermost salvation and delight ourselves in the abundance of peace. Through prayer we can escape the snares of Satan, and elude the evil purposes of the foe.
Christ is both an entrance and an exit. We can pray our way into the blessed realities of spiritual life, and pray our way out of the bewildering problems of life. Our Lord revealed these gracious facts to us when He said, "...To him that knocketh it shall be opened."
When Jesus opens Himself to His praying people He opens eternity to them, for He fills eternity with Himself and contains eternity in Himself. He is the First Cause and the Final Conclusion of everything in time and in eternity. Our concept of Christ is enlarged when He opens to us. The Psalmist was fully aware of this marvelous truth when he said,
"...Thou hast set my feet in a large room." -- Psa. 31:8.
Christ wills to open His Word to us in answer to prayer. He stated this fact when He said,
"I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." -- John 17:8.
Perhaps my personal testimony will encourage others to pray that Christ will reveal His words to them. During the quiet hour of the morning I was asking the Saviour to enable me to understand His Word. For many years I had made it my practice to study the Scriptures, but I was aware that the Scriptures contained a depth of meaning that I had not perceived. I sincerely desired to understand the Word of God. I realized my need of an enlarged concept of the plan of salvation. It was the one prayer of my heart to know more about God's invincible Word in order to preach the message of life to a perishing world. I was convinced that the Lord had heard my sincere prayer. Not many days after the season of prayer, He began to unfold His Word of truth to my heart and mind with a depth of meaning I had never known.
I was teaching in Asbury College when the Lord began to reveal His Word to me. I listened to my own lecture with great interest. I said things about the Saviour that had not been prepared in my notes for the class. The light of Divine revelation flooding my soul was not the result of my reasoning. The truth about redemption did not come from my own mind; it was coming from the mind of Christ. My soul was enjoying great peace, and His living words were like fire in my spirit. I was constrained to tell others of the Saviour's love for lost humanity. To this happy hour His truth abides within my heart and mind. His Spirit continues to reveal the Words of Christ to me day by day. I can say with the Psalmist,
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." -- Psa. 42:1.
God's imperishable truth will glow with a new light when we knock at His door in prayer. If we have failed to grasp the significance of Christ's plain teachings about prayer when He said, "...To him that knocketh it shall be opened," we should ask Him to open Himself to us. There is nothing more simple and understandable in life than knocking at a door. Even a little child can knock at a door.
Christ is the Door between the spiritual realm and the physical realm. When we are born of the Spirit we enter a spiritual kingdom, which is a spiritual realm. We live, move, and have our being in a spiritual realm with Christ. We are in the world physically, but we are not of the world spiritually. God's Word declares that a righteous person is like a tree. A tree lives in two realms of nature; it lives in the earth, and it lives above the earth. Paul recognized this amazing fact when he said,
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." -- Col. 3:2.
Jesus revealed an amazing truth when He said, "I am the door..." We can enter into His presence and pray before Him in the same simple manner that we can go into another room through an open door. When we discover this amazing truth, we find it possible to take others into
His presence and talk with Him about their needs. It has been my pleasure to take others into the presence of Jesus many times. I saw the truth of these things when I entered into a covenant of prayer with Christ. I do not find it difficult to enter into His presence at anytime.
When Jesus said, "...To him that knocketh it shall be opened," He meant to show us that it is possible for His praying people to enter the heavenly place where He is seated on the mediatorial throne, and present their petitions to Him. This fact is substantiated by Paul, who said,
"...Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." -- Col. 3:1.
The inspired prophet evidently perceived this wonderful truth concerning Christ when he said,
"...He shall be for a glorious throne to his Father's house." -- Isa. 22: 23.
God's children have a glorious throne in the Father's house. They have a perfect right to come boldly to the glorious throne of grace and make their requests known unto their heavenly Father.
Our Lord likewise disclosed a marvelous truth about the door when He said, "...And shall go in and out, and find pasture." It is apparent that a saved man can go from one realm to another and find spiritual food. Jesus has made an ample provision to sustain His people in both the physical realm and the spiritual realm. He cares for His people in the natural world and in the spiritual world. The Saviour would have us understand that the Good Shepherd will care for His flock while they are out in the field, even as He cares for them when they are in the fold. In other words, the Saviour will preserve us while we work and witness for Him in the world, like He preserves us when we are resting safely in the fold of His love. It is written,
"The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." -- Psa. 121:8.
The changeless Christ has spoken with absolute authority concerning the open door.
"...Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." -- Rev. 3:8
(On Prayer 12)
"...To him that knocketh it shall be opened." -- Luke 11:10
words of the