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"My dear, if I tell you to ask me for any thing you want, will you be afraid to come to me for it?"
"O, no, mother, I should not; because I know that you love to give me good things, and make me happy. And I always know that I shall get what I ask, if it is best that I should have it."
"Well, my dear, you may be more certain that God will give you what you ask for, if it is best you should have it. Hear what Jesus says about it. 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
"O, that is for me; for it says every one; and if every one may ask, then a little child may ask. But how can God be willing to give us what we ask for?"
"He is our heavenly Father. We
are his children, if we love him. You know how willing your father and mother are to give you good things. But God is more willing. Hear what Jesus says again: 'If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Or, if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?" "
"No, mother, I know father would not serve me so. He always loves to please me; and it grieves him when I am a bad girl, so that he cannot do for me as he would. When he comes home at night, he always smiles so, I know he loves to give me good things.'
"Well, your father and mother are not as good as God. We are sinners, and often do wrong: and Jesus says,
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, HOW MUCH MORE shall your heavenly
Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him !' ”
"How wonderful that is, mother! Is the great God more willing to give me his Holy Spirit, than my dear parents are to give me good things?"
"Yes, my dear, it is true; and he has given us a great many other promises, to show that he is willing to hear our prayers. He has even commanded us to pray to him, because he knew it would be for our good."
"O, I should not think anybody would need to be commanded to pray to God. It is such a privilege for us to be allowed to speak to our heavenly Father, and ask him for the things we want, I should think everybody would be glad to do it."
"We should think so, my dear; but people are not always willing to do what is for their own good. Sometimes children must be made to study their books, when they do not like to do it, although it is for their good.
Parents do this from love to their children, and not because it is of any benefit to themselves. So, it is of no benefit to God for us to pray to him; but he commands us to pray, because he loves us, and knows it is for our good."
"Do, mother, tell me some more of God's promises about prayer, and his commands, too."
Yes, my dear; I will first read some of the passages of Scripture by which it is made our duty to pray."
(Susan's mother reads from the Bible.) "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." "In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." "I will, that men pray everywhere." "Watch and pray."
"And now will you read some more of the promises, mother?" "Yes, I will read a few of them;
but there are so many that I can hardly tell which to choose. "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him : he also will hear their cry, and will save them.'"
"And will the Lord be nigh to me, if I pray to him? And will he give me what I desire?"
'Yes, if you call upon him in truth,' he will be near to you. "What does that mean, mother?" "To call upon God in truth, is to be sincere in your prayers: to feel in your heart just what you say. It is not prayer to say over some words that you have learned, without understanding what they mean, and really wishing for the things for which you ask. It is lying to God. If you mock him in that way, he will not answer your prayer. But here are some more promises: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,