Newly opened nectarine blossom near sunset tonight
Many things surprise me about prayer. Why, I sometimes wonder, does God want us to pray when He is completely sovereign? After all, He can and will do exactly as He has planned without me asking Him. And yet - He does want us to ask!

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matt. 7:7

I think there are probably a number of reasons why the Lord wants us to ask. Recently I read of one as illustrated in John Bunyan's great allegory, Pilgrim's Progress.

My youngest daughters and I are now reading through the second part of this story which tells of Christiana's journey. As she is traveling with her four sons and her young friend Mercy, the women are troubled by two "Ill-favored ones" who attempt to assault the women. The terrified women cry out, "Murder, murder!" and a "Reliever" comes to their aid.

Reliever. "I marvelled much when you were entertained at the gate above, seeing ye knew that ye were but weak women, that you petitioned not the Lord there for a conductor. Then might you have avoided these troubles and dangers; for he would have granted you one."

Christiana. "Alas," said CHRISTIANA, "We were so taken with our present blessing, that dangers to come were forgotten by us; besides, who could have thought that so near the King's palace there should have lurked such naughty ones? Indeed, it had been well for us had we asked our Lord for one; but since our Lord knew 'twould be for our profit, I wonder he sent not one along with us."

Rel. It is not always necessary to grant things not asked for, lest by so doing, they become of little esteem; but when the want of a thing is felt, it then comes under, in the eyes of him that feels it, that estimate that properly is its due, and so consequently will be thereafter used. Had my Lord granted you a conductor, you would not neither so have bewailed that oversight of yours in not asking for one as now you have occasion to do. So all things work for good, and tend to make you more wary.

Chris. Shall we go back again to my Lord, and confess our folly, and ask for one?

Rel. Your confession of your folly I will present him with; to go back again, you need not. For in all places where you shall come, you will find no want at all; for in everyone of my Lord's lodgings which he has prepared for the reception of his pilgrims, there is sufficient to furnish them against all attempts whatsoever. But, as I said, he will be inquired of by them to do it for them;"Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock."~ Ezekiel 36:37 ~
and 'tis a poor thing that is not worth asking for.


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