Charles Spurgeon preached a wonderful sermon on Judges 1:12-15 titled, Aschsah’s Asking, A Pattern of Prayer. Spurgeon showed how the request from a daughter (Aschsah) to a father (Caleb) gives us a “parable of prayer.”
One of them, called Caleb, said, “I will give my daughter Achsah in marriage to the man who succeeds in capturing Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz, captured the city, so Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah in marriage. On the wedding day Othniel urged her[a] to ask her father for a field. She got down from her donkey, and Caleb asked her what she wanted. She answered, “I want some water holes. The land you have given me is in the dry country.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. – Judges 1:12-15 GNT
She thought about what she wanted before she asked and was very definitive with her ask.
“Think what you are going to ask before you begin to pray, and then pray like business men. This woman does not say to her father, ‘Father, listen to me,’ and then utter some pretty little oration about nothing; but she knows what she is going to ask for, and why she is going to ask it.” – Spurgeon
She also asked for help when it came to her request.
“A friend, some time ago, said to me, ‘My dear pastor, whenever I cannot pray for myself, and there are times when I feel shut up about myself, I always take to praying for you: ‘God bless him, at any rate!’ and I have not long been praying for you before I begin to feel able to pray for myself.’ I should like to come in for many of those odd bits of prayer. Whenever any of you get stuck in the mud, do pray for me. It will do you good, and I shall get a blessing.” – Spurgeon
She was confident because it was her father that she was asking.
She went humbly, yet eagerly.
It was encouraging to her to have her father ask her what she wanted. God asks that too when we engage with him. That is why it is good to know what we want.
Asking is important – I would say it is one of God’s pleasures to hear me ask.
She simply came forward and she simply asked for a blessing.
There was an acknowledgement of gratitude for what was already given and that thankfulness was mingled with the ask.
So there was the past blessing which set up the openness to request more and she knew she needed more.
“What is the use of the hearers if there be not the power of the Holy Spirit going with the Word to bless them? Give me springs of water.” – Spurgeon
Obviously this is a great example because she received what she asked for and I believe she received more than what she asked for.
What I love most is that her father in no way offered criticism of her request and did not take it lightly in any way.
While Aschsah had her husband to walk with her during the ask, Jeremiah was stopped for doing the same thing for the people of Israel.
The Lord said to me, “Do not ask me to help these people. Even if they fast, I will not listen to their cry for help; and even if they offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not be pleased with them. Instead, I will kill them in war and by starvation and disease.” – Jeremiah 14:11-12 GNT
This is not the first time that Jeremiah was told to stop praying for the people. They may know the motions needed to look like they care about God but He knew how hard their hearts were and decided not to hear them.
“O, how dreadful is the state of that people in reference to whom the Lord says to his ministers, Pray not for them; or, what amounts nearly to a prohibition, withholds from his ministers the spirit of prayer and intercession in behalf of the people!” – Clarke
The only way I believe God would hear their prayer would be if they all came together to repent, and to call upon His name.
“We begin by admitting the sin for what it is, but then secondly, we forsake it, rejecting and repudiating it. This is to adopt a right attitude towards both God and the sin itself.” John Stott