Back to Contents
Prayer Availeth Much
T. M. Anderson
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
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
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.