By Andrew Urshan
When the Disciples of our Savior beheld their Lord communicating with the Father in prayer with such an earnestness and enjoyment, it made them hungry for the same manner of communication; and the result was, the sincere request of one who earnestly said, “Lord, teach us to pray” Luke 11:1.
What a noble request! If we also today pray in the Spirit as our Lord did, we too will rouse those who pray not and know not how to pray, to get hungry for prayer. We have heard the prayers like that of our Master offered, which brought the Spirit of prayer upon those who had no feeling t pray in the congregation. Readers, does your public prayer create prayers in other hearts? Or, does it quench the Spirit of prayer in those who had it before you prayed? We can make the people pray some by our preaching; but we can make them pray much more when we ourselves not only preach on the subject but also pray earnestly ourselves. May this noble request be the good news to our ears also by many who will become anxious for Prayer like the disciples of old did.
Did our lord refuse to teach His Disciples? No indeed, and He will never refuse us now if we earnestly ask Him to pour out the Spirit of supplication upon us. He not only taught them to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but He also taught them how to pray and what to pray for, and this is just like Him, he, who is so gracious, He not only gives us what we need but gives us abundantly above all we ask and think. Praise be unto His loving and big heart.
We have presently to pass over the blessed prayer our Lord taught His followers for a while and will come to see the way He taught them to pray, for many in these days pray, but few know how to pray.
Our Master has not left us in darkness concerning the prevailing way of prayer, the prayer that cannot be turned back empty, the prayer that will get the full divine answer, Yea the asking that always will receive; the seeking that will find; and the knocking that will open the windows of Heaven upon us. The blessed Jesus showed them, and us too, the perfect way of acceptable prayer, and it is up to us to enter the divinely arranged way of the real prayer.
“And I Say Unto You, Ask”
The “I” of our Lord here, (and I say) is full of divine significance, it signifies His Godhead authority, therefore it is a divine statement to assure us of His teaching, being the teaching of God Himself, therefore endurable and profitable. Right here we see the mysterious attitude of our Lord. We see Him first as a needy creature, who because of His need of Divine help, He earnestly prays to God. But in a few minutes, time turns around and speaks as if He Himself is that very God. This indeed is a mystery which Jesus Himself is able and is the only one to reveal and to solve. Glory to His matchless Name. Let us therefore inventively listen to Him, for what He says it is the truth of the Almighty.
“And I say unto you ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Luke 11:8-10). What a positive promise! What an encouraging message to those who believe in the God who is rich to supply!
Let us now proceed to know the way of getting the promises fulfilled in our lives; let us learn from our God how to pray, lest we be found of those who beat the air in their prayers and come away with empty hands.
First, let us remember that to pray rightly and acceptably, it is not to know how to produce a vocabulary of the mother tongue, or in any other language before God, but it is to express our need to the Father earnestly and fervently some way.
We heard some time ago a Minister saying of an Indian woman who came to a meeting conducted in English language, which she could not understand a word of it; that se left the meeting with impression that the God of the white people was the real God, and of course, she thought, He will accept no prayer in any other language but the English; so after much difficulty she began to recall two words the Minister mentioned which she distinctly heard other words and those words and those words were “January and February!” over and over until God came to her, not only converted her soul but also filled her with the Holy Spirit. Now this beats all the oratory that many try to display before God in prayer service. It is also a fact that a little baby can get things quicker than a big boy, just because the boy can speak out his request, but the baby can only cry hard. These are natural laws to teach us that our Heavenly Father will supply our needs as the answer of earnest cry, being put in great words, or in no words at all. This fact should encourage all those who cannot pray with big words as others and begin to say “Jesus, Jesus”, Oh, oh, if nothing more, until they receive what their hearts ask, though their tongues be thick and slow to speak.
Our precious Lord could have in no better way taught His anxious disciples as to how to pray, than the way He did, by saying the parable of that man who went to his friend’s house to borrow his need. Read Luke 11:5-8.
In this parable you will see many difficulties confronting that man who made his mind to go to his friend’s house for bread to bring to his guest who came to him in an unexpected time. But we see all the difficulties overcome and the man inside had to arise against his will and give this man outside who knocking at the gate vehemently, not what he thought to give, but what the man outside demanded, simply because that man did not go there and try to get all he needed but he went to get it. And he would have wakened the whole neighborhood by continually knocking if that fellow inside had refused to rise giving him what he asked. In this case too, we see that it was not the food usage of the language, or the ties of the friendship, brought his need, but it was the terrible noise of the knocking that made that man inside to get up, to kindle the old fashioned mud made lamp and barefooted, hasten to the pantry to get up the tree loaves to the persisting and importune fellow outside. So, our Lord says, “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 many as he (wants? No) needeth. And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you. “In other words, this is the way to pray a prevailing prayer. So you see, our blessed Lord taught His Disciples not only to pray but how to pray also.
The importunity that arises from right, is the kind that will prevail with God. We have heard of some who prayed themselves to discouragement and even to insanity. They prayed so earnestly, so hard, so often, until they lost their reasons, because they received nothing, though they cried and cried. Why didn’t they receive, were they not importune? Where were they not in earnest? Yes, but behind their vehement prayers here was no righteous ground, but rather they asked amiss, that they may consume it upon their lusts, (James 4:3). They were greedy and selfish in their motives and God knew it. It must be remembered in the case of the man in the above parable; that first of all he was asking not for himself, but for a needy and weary traveler, who happened to come to his house; second, that the Oriental custom of those days to entertain a stranger were as if you were to entertain an Angel. And if a family was found to have refused a meal for a traveling stranger, that family would have been looked upon as a stingy people. This receiver of the loaves knew the custom of his town and his case was righteous, therefore he could be bold and as persistent as he was, for he knew though he would have lost the friendship of one man, he would have gained the friendship of one man; he would have gained the friendship of the whole town. That is why he got just what he needed, that is why the man inside had to get up and give him all he asked for because he also knew what the town would think of him if he had refused.
Ah, this is the very reason why we don’t get what we ask for many time because we are importune for only ourselves and that with selfishness. It is natural to pray earnestly for ourselves, but it is Christ-like to la”bor in prayer” for others. Let us, dear ones, learn a valuable lesson from this true way of prayer that our Lord taught His first disciples and pray persistently first of all to cleanse us from all religious greediness and selfishness. Then it will not be hard for us to ask rightly and receive abundantly. And if you and I are righteous in our motives, let us keep on praying, knocking and seeking; not once, or twice, but “until” no matter how long that “Until” may be. No matter how mountain like the difficulties may arise. Yea, no matter if even God our faithful friend says “I cannot arise and give,” or “I cannot take the bread of the children and give it to the dogs.” But keep on praying, keep on supplicating and keep on interceding; finally you will succeed. Our all wise God to test our importunity sometimes acts as if He did not want to give us what we really needed, but if our need is of the right kind, we can say, “Oh Lord, you said ‘concerning my works command me.'” And the violent takes the Kingdom by force. And I am one of those violent friends of yours and I will give you no rest until you arise and give all I need. Then He will arise and give you the threefold blessing at once, and you will go on your happy way.
It comes to our mind while writing this message an interesting instance which took place in one of our revival meetings in Canada. After preaching on the “Tree Loaves Blessing,” a dear sister blessed thereby stood up testifying said, “Oh praise the Lord, Brother Urshsan preached just what I got from the Lord some years ago. I came to Him for justification and prayed hard and got it then I came to him for the second blessing the sanctification, and prayed and I got that too. But, glory, I came the third time and asked the Lord to baptize me with the Holy Ghost and fire. Eh gave me the third blessing also. So I have the three loaves now, “Hallelujah!” We were lead to say, “You all can se that Sis.B— has what she claimed to have alright, but the only difference I see of her experience from that of the importune man is that he got three loaves at once and in one course. However, we are glad to se she made God to give her “the threefold blessing.”
The Three Loaves
If the reader carefully studies the Bible on the “three-ness” or number 3, he will readily see that it means “the one fullness,” or “the one completeness,” both of God and of the evil one. Hence, the “three loaves” means the fullness of the Holy Spirit for the new Covenant dispensation, for which our Lord instructs His disciples to pray.
The Spirit was given in the Old Testament dispensation by a certain measure, and that, to the chosen men of God only; such as patriarchs, kinds, judges and prophets. Elisha seemed to have received above all saints of the Old Covenant, when he persisted to have the double portion of Elijah’s spirit which he received. That far he also could go and no further. But Jesus of Nazareth, according to his humanity, the first new man among his brethren (the new creation) was the first one who received the Spirit. He received it “without measure,” that is with all the fullness, or, “threefold.” And the believers on him can receive also the fullness if they ask the Father, in Jesus’ Name, persistently and believingly. That is why our Lord begins to teach them not only to pray, and how to pray, but also what to pray for.
The Real Baptism Of The Spirit
The present day religious circumstances force us to use that word “real,” though the Bible has only one glorious Spirit baptism, which is all real. But we know that there are thousands all around us who claim to have received the Holy Spirit baptism, but a person fails to see the divine signs, evidence and the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. So by “the real baptism” of the Spirit, we mean the Bible brand baptism, and not the modern.
Why so many Christians claim a Spirit baptism which is not the genuine one? Because they are taught that a confirmation into a certain denomination, humanly organized church, is the Spirit baptism. Others, because they have been sometime in their lives baptized by water into some other organized churches. The later claim to have received the Spirit baptism when they were either sprinkled or immersed. Yet others are taught that the conversion is the Holy Spirit baptism. So thousands have had these performed in their lives and are called the baptized saints.
There is still another teaching which has robbed many honest souls from their right heritage in Christ. That teaching is “You need not to pray for receiving the Spirit, only receive Him by faith and He is there. Neither wait for any spiritual feeling, only believe and claim it. You shouldn’t seek to know that you have received the Spirit baptism, because that will be unbelief. You may know or you may not know, so keep on claiming it believingly.”
The teaching of our Lord in the above mentioned Scriptures radically disproves such teachings. We would advise God’s people to abide in the doctrine of our Lord and get down right, with the real prevailing prayer until you get the tangible and real “three loaves” of the Spirit.
The knocker could not have been made satisfied by his friend inside by simply advising him, “get the three loaves by faith, and claim you have them as you go home you may find the three loaves there waiting for you.” No, indeed that kind of talking would have made him to knock still harder at the door. He was too bright for such nonsense and unscriptural talking. Hear the definite words of our Lord in regard of the real and hear-felt Holy Spirit baptism. “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone; Or if he as 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, begin 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?
Here is the truth vividly and plainly demonstrated in regard of the real tangibleness of the Spirit of God when He comes to abide in the believer on Christ. Just as bread, fish and egg when received is known to the receiver, and when he is getting filled and while eating he sensibly enjoys the taste of that three-fold meal, then later he feels the nourishment from the same indwelling reality. So it is with the receiving of the Holy Spirit. If you come around a boy who received the bread, fish and egg dinner from his father, and eating it, you will not ask him if he know he really is having the dinner. Or, if he knows what he eats. Because it will be a non-sensible question to ask, for you well know also that the boy really has what he needs and has received just what he asked for from his father.
Did the one hundred and twenty believers on the day of Pentecost know they had received the Holy Spirit? Did those who looked on them know that those Galilaeans had something very strange happen to them? Read Acts 2:1-13.
Did the Samaritan convert know when they received the Spirit as to the answer of theirs and Peter’s and John’s prayers in their behalf? Did Simon the Sorceror know when Phillip’s convert received their Spirit baptism? Read Acts 8:14-19.
Now we come to the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit. Did Cornelius and his household know when they received the Holy Spirit? Did Peter and those six Jews who came with him know that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles also? Read Acts 10:44-48.
Furthermore, did the Ephesian believers know when they received the Spirit? Did Apostle Paul, who prayed for them after their water immersion, know that they received the Spirit, and that his prayer was answered? Did he? Read Acts 19:1-7. How in the face of all these mentioned scriptural facts, proving the teaching of our blessed Lord being real, can anyone go around and say, “when you receive the Baptism of the Spirit you may or may not know it. Oh, reader, if you are one of those readers, please for Christ’s sake and the precious souls, omit that kind of teaching and get on your knees. Pray for yourself and others, and pray with importunity too. Ask the Father for the heavenly bread, fish and egg. Give God no rest until He actually and really fills you, that you may be so filled you will have no need to claim the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will claim you so forcibly and until you will be spoiled for the Society folks. Yea, you will be so peculiar and zealous for the good works that even the dead will be stirred against that Christ the “Threefold Bread” in you. Then you will have a fight of the faith on hand, but then you will find yourself overcoming all false teachings and false spirits because He that is in you is Greater than he that is in the World.
“And I say unto you ask, (Pray) and it shall be given you; seek (diligently, waitingly,) and you shall find; Knock (use God’s promises as the Hammer of your faith) and it shall be opened unto you.”
Remember finally, that this “Three Loaves Blessing is yours when first, you turn from sin and the world to God and become a true Disciple of Christ. Because these positive promises are given for the true repented persons who will turn to God and in Christ’s Name get Baptized, Acts 2:38. Second, that after turning from all to follow Jesus, you pray with the importunity of the man in the Parable mentioned, for as such is the “shall” of God. Third; you should ever remember that this threefold blessing is loaned to you to be used faithfully to the glory of the Giver and for the benefit of those who come to you from the darkness of Sin, for the Heavenly Food. Like the faithful servant who had three Talents from his Lord. Forth; fear not of your getting to much in earnest and restrain from crying your heart out to God, for He will not come to you with a stone, Serpent, Scorpion, but with the full meal of Heaven, even the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, like that the first Christians received.
Finally, ASK! ASK! ASK! SEEK! SEEK! SEEK! And KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! And KNOCK!, and the rest will follow.
“He that hath ears, let him hear, What the dear Lord teaches.
This article “The Prevailing Prayer and the Disciples Earnest Request” by Andrew B. Urshan is excerpted from his book, The Supreme Need of the Hour, 1985.