June 12: Daniel Whittle: What is the purpose of answered prayer?

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel W. Whittle wrote about 200 hymns, among the better known are “I Know Whom I have Believed,” as well as “Showers of Blessings.” We’ve been sharing highlights from Daniel Whittle’s book, The Wonders of Prayer. However, some may see answered prayer as its own end. Daniel Whittle addresses this concern.

A widow once told the write of the turning point in her Christian life, when God’s love was so shed abroad in her heart that she had been enabled to go on through all her trials rejoicingly conscious of God’s presence, and casting all her burdens upon Him. She was driven to seek God by great need. Her husband’s death left her destitute, with little children to provide for, and few friends from whom to look for continuous aid. Winter drew on, and one day, her little boy came in shivering with cold and asked if he could not have a fur cap, as his straw hat was very cold and none of the boys at school wore straw hats.

She was without a cent in the world. She gave a hopeful answer to the boy and sent him out to play, and then went to her bedroom and knelt and wept in utter desolation of heart before God, praying most earnestly that God would give her a token that He was her God for her by sending a cap for her boy. While she prayed the peace of God filled her soul. She was made to feel the presence of her Saviour in such a way that all doubts as to his love for her and his fulfillment of all his promises to care for her vanished away, and she went out of her room, rejoicing in the Lord and singing his praise.

She had no burden about the cap, and was quite content for God to send it or not as it pleased Him; and, in the afternoon, when a neighbor called, occupied with the Lord and his wonderful love, the thought of the cap had gone from her mind. When the neighbor rose to depart, she said, “You know my little boy died last fall. Just before he died I bought him a fur cap: he only wore it two or three times. After his death I put away all his things and thought I could never part with any of them. But, this morning, as I went to the drawer to look them over, I felt that I should give you this cap for your little boy. Will you take it of me?

As she took the cap and told her neighbor of the morning trial, prayer and blessing, two souls were filled with the sense of the reality of prayer and the love of God for his children. “My little boy,” said the widow, “wore that cap for three winters. And often, when sorely tried by my circumstances, has God lifted the burden from my heart, by my just looking at it, and remembering the blessing that came with it.”

Experiences like this God gives to all his children, not for the purpose of leading them to look to Him for supplying their physical necessities, as an end, but to make Himself known to them, and to secure their confidence and love, for “this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent,” (John 17:8)

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