Dorry Penny - First Oak Lodge - 1993

I would just like to say how much we have appreciated being invited to this land, to be among you all. As I was thinking of having a part in this meeting, I found a little coming into my mind that is recorded in Ezekiel.  No doubt you have heard it spoken of before, it just seemed fresh to me again, when the people of the land came before the Lord, He said, “They that enter by the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate... not return by the gate you came in.” That just seemed to be so comforting to me, again and again, thinking of God's people coming here and of ourselves, of the way we came in. The Lord has said we shouldn't go out by the same way that we came in.

Maybe we have come in burdened, maybe we have faced battles and struggles in the past, maybe we've come in very weary. It’s good to know we can go out in a different way, we can go out with fresh courage fresh strength, fresh purpose and deeper desires. We can go out so different from how we have come in, that just seemed to encourage me afresh as I thought of coming to this place.

We are conscious as we move among God's people and talk to them, visit among them, that in every life there's a battle that rages on, a battle continuing. There's the battle against the enemy, against oneself and many things but it is good to know the battle still is raging. The people of God are still fighting for what is right, for what is true in the sight of God.

Before I came from England, my companion and I were reading together the book if Isaiah, we very much enjoyed reading it together. In that book, in one of the early chapters, chapter 7, we read about a king called Ahaz, an unworthy king but it tells about him. God asked him to ask a sign of Him, ask it either in the depth, or in the height above... the marginal reading is: make thy petition deep.

That appealed to me so much, this thought of making our petition deep, but that king that day when the Lord gave the invitation to make a deep petition, he said, "I will not ask." He wouldn't ask. God was disappointed with that king that day. He gave that king the opportunity to make his petition deep, to ask a sign from God. God said even though he didn't ask, He Himself would give a sign. God gave to that king that day the great­est sign any person could ever be given.

He began to talk to him about Jesus, about that virgin who will bring forth a child, about this Jesus that would be born into the earth. It didn't make any difference to Ahaz, it didn't change his life at all, he wasn't willing to make his petition deep.

Today, as I was thinking of these things, and as we think of it, we feel we would like to under­stand how to make our petitions deeper, how to have a deeper purpose in our praying, deeper desires to know how to make our prayers deeper for the Kingdom. If that king was concerned about the kingdom at that time, he would have been more concerned about making his petition deeper before the Lord. He wasn't prepared to do that and I enjoyed thinking of some making deeper petitions because of the Kingdom's interest.

I thought of Hannah who came before the Lord. She made her petition deeper than any she had ever made before when she prayed for Samuel. Do you know what caused her to make that deep petition before the Lord? It meant coming to an end of herself, she was willing to offer to the Lord that life which would mean so much to her; those of you who are parents understand what it must have cost Hannah to offer that young life to God, to give Samuel back to the Lord after she had asked him of the Lord at such a cost. She was willing, at cost to herself, for the Kingdom's sake.

I sometimes wonder how much cost I will be willing for in my life, when I know what I am praying before the Lord is going to cost something if the Lord is going to answer that petition. We need to know how to be willing to face up to the cost.

I thought of Nehemiah and the time when he prayed before the Lord. It was a deep petition and he knew when he had finished praying, the Lord was going to ask for him to answer his own prayer. It meant going in to face an earthly king, it means asking something he was very afraid to ask but because the Lord laid it upon his heart to make that petition, Nehemiah was willing to go forth and stand before the king and make a petition that day that was going to cost him something, to leave the comfort of the position he had in the king's household to seek the good of Jerusalem. He made his petition deep.

I thought of many others. I enjoyed thinking of Daniel, some deep petitions were made to the Lord. I thought of the time when the messenger came to Daniel and spoke to him, "Daniel, thou art a man greatly beloved." The margin tells us 'a man of desires,' there were desires in the heart of Daniel toward the Kingdom. Daniel knew what it was to face affliction, afflicting himself before the Lord, pray­ing for the Kingdom, for the future of God's people and that message came that said, "Thou art a man greatly beloved." Daniel was willing to die to himself, to afflict himself, to face up to his own nature, to all that governed humanly because he was seeking the good of the Kingdom.

I remember once hearing a Worker speaking about this, about Daniel being a man of desires. Daniel had been a man of desires, greater and deeper desires for the Kingdom's interests, greater and deeper, perhaps, he had ever attained to, but good to have desires like that so we are reaching after them.

Striving after something maybe greater and deeper than we can attain to but if we could always be reaching out to that, it will keep us in the safe place, in the place of prayer, in the place of need. Good if we can have desires and purposes like that.

We know the deepest desires, the deepest petitions of all made by the Son of God and I turned and read again the prayers in the garden, in agony there, Jesus prayed, "Let this cup pass from Me," but every time He prayed that prayer, He came to the place where He was willing to say, "Not My will, Lord but Thine."

Three times, it tells us, He prayed that prayer, He went again and prayed again three times, with such depth of prayer because it tells us His sweat was as drops of blood..., in agony that day as He prayed. His petitions were very deep. It tells us also when He had prayed that prayer, there came an angel from Heaven strengthening Him.

I often enjoy the thought God didn't remove the cup from Jesus but as He was willing to say, "Not My will," there was help from Heaven, an angel came, strengthening Him. When we are willing to make our petitions deeper, we are willing to face up to the cost of what it is going to mean for us, then there will be help from Heaven, help to do what may be difficult for us to face, some step that is difficult for us to take, but help is there, help from Heaven.

I enjoyed a verse in the Psalms, "The deep places in the earth are in Thy hand." If we are passing through deep experiences we can be sure we are in His hand because the deep places in the earth are in the hand of God. One would like to know how to be willing to face the depth with God. May we, as we face the coming days, have a deeper purpose, deeper praying, deeper knowledge of His work in our hearts and lives as a result of God's dealings here. It tells us in the parable of the sower that the seed sown on rocky ground, there was no depth of earth, the roots couldn't go down, the seed couldn't prosper.

If we are not willing for the deepening of God's work in our lives, no root rooting taking place, the roots are going to cease to produce. We know what prevents roots from going down, hardness under the surface. I am grateful to be reminded today what it tells us of God's work, it is not only like gentle rain from Heaven, God said, “It is like a hammer that breaketh the rock!” We have to be willing to take some knocks.

We have been hearing about affliction and bruising, we have to be willing for that. If it breaks the hardness that prevents the roots going down, shouldn't we be willing for it? As the roots go deeper, more fruitfulness can come forth in our lives, more fruit in our service.