Smart, Robert Davis
God was willing, resolved, and determined to hear your prayer before you were willing to ask. He decreed it from eternity. In fact, He was willing before you even had a will or existed. Furthermore, He was not only willing before you asked, but He is the cause why you are willing. You must not think that your prayers move God to be willing; His will is the same forever, not subject to the least motion or alteration. Prayers are a sign rather than a cause that God is willing. He is not made willing because we pray, but because He is willing, He stirs up our hearts to pray.
“Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble. You will prepare their heart, you will cause your ear to hear” (Ps. 10:17). He first desires to do us good and then makes us desire it and pray for it, that we may have the mercy in His own way—a clear evidence that He is more desirous to give than we are to receive because He makes us willing to ask.
David Clarkson (1622-1686) graduated from Cambridge University, and was a fellow of Clare Hall from 1645 until his marriage to a Miss Holcroft in 1651. He served as rector of Crayford, Kent from 1650 to 1655, and held the perpetual curacy of Mortlake, Surrey, from 1656 to 1661. For about a year, he served as assistant to Samuel Clark at St. Benet Fink, London, until the Act of Uniformity and the Great Ejection in 1662. In July 1682 he became colleague to the fast ailing John Owen, whom he assisted in Leadenhall Street, London, until the latter’s death in 1683. He ministered in Owen’s pulpit for only three more years until his own death on June 14, 1686.