The Three Essentials of Prayer
“… Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”—LUKE 11:10.
The plain teachings of Jesus accord us a valid reason to believe that every sincere prayer offered by His people shall be answered.
Jesus stated the three essentials of prayer when He said, “Ask, seek, knock.” He disclosed these three essentials of prayer in His parable about the man asking his friend for three loaves. It is quite obvious that he was asking, seeking and knocking when he made his request for bread in the middle of the night.
The Master’s words revealing the inherent principles of effectual praying confirm our faith, enlarge our understanding, and enable us to appropriate His certified promises. It is apparent that His promises relating to prayer are as vast in scope as the extent of His promises pertaining to salvation. It is written, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things.”—Rom. 8:32.
This Scripture reveals the possibilities of prayer to be as great as the boundless measure of redemptive grace. The unsparing God places no limit on our praying because there is no limit placed on His giving. If we believe that Christ was sacrificed to save us to the uttermost, we must likewise believe that He is able to supply our needs to the uttermost.
The lamentable fact is we have been exceedingly slow to comprehend the unlimited possibilities of prayer revealed in Christ’s plain words. When we fully understand His instructions about praying, and grasp the promises by faith, we will not find it difficult to pray the effectual fervent prayer of achieving faith. We certainly owe it to ourselves and to all men, to consider seriously the fundamental principles of prayer disclosed to His disciples in answer to their request, “… Lord teach us to pray …” The very essence of this request is in itself a prayer to know how to pray.
It is necessary to consider Christ’s teachings regarding our daily bread in order to understand the three essentials of prayer. He has focused our attention on the requests for bread in His entire discourse on prayer. Our daily bread is contained in the first direct request revealed in the Lord’s prayer, “Give us day by day our daily bread.” The request for bread follows the prayer of worship. “… Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done …” The request for bread also precedes the prayer for pardon and preservation. Bread is obviously the central theme of the Lord’s prayer, according to the teachings of Jesus.
Our Lord emphasizes the need of bread in the parable of the man seeking the three loaves at midnight, and concludes His discourse by arresting our attention to the son asking bread of his father.
It is apparent that Christ’s teachings about asking for bread contain something much more important than our temporal needs in this life. He evidently intended to stress the fact that we needed spiritual food in order to live in time and in eternity. We recall that Jesus astonished His disciples when He said, “I am the bread of life.” When He uttered these words He made it clear that we cannot live without Him, for He is as essential to spiritual life as bread is essential to physical life. (See John 6:48-58.)
The three essentials of prayer are readily understood when applied to the Saviour, who is the living bread from heaven. When we sincerely ask for the Lord Jesus, we shall receive Him; when we earnestly seek Him, we shall find Him; and when we knock at His door, it shall be opened unto us.
The three fundamental principles of prayer apply to the entire scope of life in this world, and in the world to come. I am thoroughly convinced that the redeemed family of God will ask, seek, and knock in prayer throughout all eternity. Their request will not be hindered by their infirmities of body and mind as they are in this world. We are daily aware of the fact that we know not what we should pray for as we ought. We will be able to make our requests known unto God in that holy place with a clear mind and a glorified body.
It is quite evident that our Lord would have us understand this startling fact seeing that He made the request for bread the central theme of family life. It is certainly true that as long as we live in the Father’s house we must depend on Him to sustain us. There is no valid reason to believe that this relationship shall end when we enter heaven. There is nothing in the Master’s teachings to show us that we ever become self-sustaining in life, either in this world or in the world to come.
I am fully persuaded that the fundamental principle of asking and giving will continue to all eternity. God stated this fundamental rule of His household when He said to the Son, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee …”—Psa. 2:8. This astonishing principle of asking and giving was clearly an integral part of the Saviour’s ministry on earth. We find the same basic principle revealed in the amazing fact that He ever lives to make intercession for us.
The three essential principles of prayer are revealed in nature. Every living thing in creation must be fed. Every plant, insect, and living creature on earth must ask, seek, and knock in order to obtain food from nature. We accept this obvious fact without question.
We have no reason to believe that eternal life in heaven will be sustained independent of our relationship to Christ. He supplies our needs in this world in answer to prayer, and He shall continue to supply our eternal requirements in answer to prayer. If this is the rule of the Father’s household on earth, it will continue to be the rule for ever.