by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXXI

July, 1952

Number 12

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

The Greek word for prayer is PROSEUCHE. It is, literally, "Toward-Well-Having."

When we pray to God we have set our course toward a certain goal. This goal is, to well-have what we are praying for. Not merely to HAVE it, but to have it in a way that it is WELL. In other words, to have it in a way that it is a blessing to us. Our face is set toward that goal. We are supposed to expect it. This is faith. If we do not expect it, we are asking without faith. In that case it would hardly be called praying. Certainly it is not toward-well-having.

To an astonishing extent, saints talk and argue against prayer. One says that what God is going to do for us, He is going to do whether we pray or not. Another tells us that in this administration we need not expect blessings, such as saints of other administrations have had, and are to have again. Another says that God has designed for the present time, suffering and weakness for His saints, inasmuch as we are to be blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, later. Still another informs us that God has certain plans that forbid a favorable answer to our prayers.

One would naturally expect, after hearing all these arguments, to find that the scriptures abound in discouraging passages informing us that God has designed that most of our prayers must go unanswered, and that those who pray are, for the most part, doomed to disappointment.

Why not seek and find what is the truth about it? Does the word of God have a great preponderance of discouraging things like this? I suggest that you take a concordance, (Cruden's is a good one), and look up all the references to prayer, and satisfy yourself whether or not this is true.

One of the passages that is used as a proof that God is not much interested in granting our requests, is that one of 2 Cor. 12, in which Paul tells about the thorn in the flesh. With relish they tell us, "Paul's prayer was not answered; his request was not granted". Who says it was not? Paul does not say it. Not at first was the request granted, even at the widow who asked the judge to right the wrongs that she had suffered at the hand of her plaintiff, had to wait a considerable time for the granting of the favor, Luke 18. But in the widow's case a favorable answer did come, and Jesus tells us that God may wait, but that he will grant the prayers of His chosen ones who implore Him day and night.

Paul prayed three times, and then God told him, "Sufficient for you is my grace, for my power in infirmity is being perfected". How could His power be perfected, and WHY, if it was not to be used to grant relief to the apostle?

Men say, glibly, "We all have a thorn in the flesh". Who said so? What passage tells us that this is true? What was the purpose of the thorn? It was to humble the man who had been snatched away to the third heaven, and into Paradise. Have you had this experience? Do you know of anyone who HAS had it? Since we have not been thus snatched away, there is no danger that we will be lifted up by the transcendence of a revelation that we have never had. Therefore, there is no need of the thorn in the flesh, in our case. If i had been intended that WE should have this "thorn", Paul would have told us just what it is, instead of merely referring to it as a messenger of Satan. Who knows what it was? Who has ever known, except the only man who ever needed it?

The saints, bent on proving that God makes a specialty of not answering prayer, have handled this passage in a way that it is a "thorn into flesh" of those who want to rely on God.

No one ever believed in "Predestination" more strongly than Paul did, and He says that all is of God. And yet this belief was never used by him as an argument against prayer. Perhaps he made the very strongest appeal to the saints to pray, taht is found anywhere in the entire scripture, when he asks us to "pray unintermittingly." Far from thinking that it makes no difference whether we pray or not, praying and thanksgiving are the only things that Paul asks us to do unintermittingly. Let those who say, "What God will do for me if I pray, He will do if I do not pray", take into consideration what I have just said. Paul certainly was a "praying man".

Does God love the saints of this administration less than those of former ones, that He should tell us that we need not expect great blessings? And in what passage does He tell us that?

Is there a scarcity of blessings, that God has to "ration" them, stinting us in the matter of every-day favors, just because He intends to bless us with spiritual blessings among the celestials? In what passage does God tell us that this is His way of doing things? As a matter of fact, we place the emphasis in the wrong place. Not only we of the present administration have spiritual blessings. We have them among the celestials. It is in this respect that we differ from others. ALL saints have spiritual blessings, even as all saints have blessings of body and affairs. Spiritual blessings are not peculiar to the church which is the body of Christ. And cannot He bless us in every way, or must He limit us to spiritual blessings? Has He practically bankrupted Himself by preparing blessings for us among the celestials?

Man may make commitments that would keep him from doing things for others. God is absolutely free. He, of all beings, is never caught in a trap by some of His plans, so that He cannot bless certain ones. Is He prevented from doing things because of some previous promise?

In Cruden's Concordance of the English Bible, I find about 250 references to prayer---perhaps there are many more. In none of them do I find that God discourages prayer. He ENcourages it. In Paul's writings are about thirty passages that have to do with praying. Perhaps there are more. I mention this because Paul writes specially for us who are of the body of Christ. One of his most precious passages, (to me), is the one in which he says, "Let nothing be worrying you, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God, that is superior to every frame of mind, shall be garrisoning your hearts and your apprehension in Christ Jesus, Phil. 4:6, 7.

There are those who believe that we are to receive only peace, in response to our prayers. Let us analyze the entire passage. Let nothing be worrying you. Why? Because you have recourse to prayer and thanksgiving. Peace is the opposite of worry. How are we to have this peace?  By not worrying, but praying with thanksgiving. The peace comes the moment we cease to worry. That which will maintain it, is prayer with thanksgiving. We cannot cease to worry until we are ready to pray, believing that in doing so we have set our heart on the road that leads toward well having.

Luke does not teach the part of the gospel that is reserved exclusively for the church which is the body of Christ. He teaches the gospel for all humanity. It applies to us, just as it applies to others. It is not exclusively for us. It is for all believers, and this includes us.

In chapter 18 Luke recounts a discourse of Jesus, in which He taught, by a parable, that men must always pray and not become despondent. There was a judge in a certain city,---one who did not fear God nor respect man. A widow in that city came to him and requested, "Out-just me from my plaintiff". But he would not for a while. Finally he did, because she kept on asking him.

Jesus made the application in the following words: "Hear what the judge of the unjustness is saying. Now, should not God by all means be doing the out-justing of His chosen ones who are imploring Him day and night, (and He is patient with the )? I am saying to you that He will be doing the out-justing of them swiftly".

In this passage we are taught the value of importunate prayer. God may wait until we have proven, by imploring Him day and night, that we are really in earnest, and that we feel sure that nothing except His blessings will be sufficient. That is, we must prove it to our self. When we reach that attitude, God will swiftly respond.

The value of this lesson has been mostly lost sight of. We may be sure that God, far from being displeased at our insistence, is patient with us. Indeed, nothing pleases Him more than for us to always pray and not become despondent.

Paul has a message that tells of the hope and faith and service and destiny of the church which is the body of Christ. In addition to his, he recommends scriptures that are outside his writings. He says, after quoting from one of Psalms, "For whatever was written before, was written for this teaching of ours, that through the endurance and consolation of the scriptures we may have expectation".

In the Pauline scriptures we learn about our celestial expectation. No other writer tells us about this. But in the other scriptures we have expectation as to our blessings and happiness and fruitfulness now. It must be that Paul has special reference to the Psalms, in the above quotation. He who chooses to read the Psalms and deny that any part of the promises contained therein are ours, is robbing himself of much expectation. Is there any reason why I should not receive comfort from the Twenty-third Psalm?

The Lord is MY Pastor, as much as He is David's. His provision enables me to say, with confidence, I shall not lack. Do not still waters speak of peace, and green pastures, of sustenance? Lying down reminds us of rest. Are not these things true of us, as they were true of the men who wrote the Psalm?

Can we adopt this language from Psalm 103? "He hath not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our lawlessness. For as the heaven is high above the earth so great is His mercy toward them who reverence Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us".

Do not such passages enable us to have expectation?

I am writing for the purpose of encouraging the people to pray, and to trust God. I deplore the paralyzing doctrine that would exclude us from receiving the joys of daily communion with our Father. Those who know the ecstasy of receiving from the loving heart of God, will not deride me for writing so often on this subject. They will welcome this teaching.

The privilege of which I am writing is one that is precious, and one whose possibilities we have not explored. Why not do so? No seeker after fold has been more richly rewarded for seeking the precious metal, than we will be if we make our Father our daily Companion, to talk TO Him, talk WITH Him, and listen to what He is ready to tell us. Let us start out on the road toward well having.

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