5 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
After He had taught His disciples how to pray using the Model Prayer (Luke 11:1-4), Jesus then turned to a more difficult task: teaching them their need to pray. One who prays out of a sense of need is the one who truly learns to pray.
Have you ever had unexpected company? That is the situation in the parable Jesus told in today’s reading, a parable that is unique to Luke's Gospel. In the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, people travelled late in the evening to avoid the heat of the sun, and such a traveler had arrived at a friend's house.
In the East, hospitality was a sacred duty. The guest was to be served with ample abundance. But often only enough bread was baked each day that the family could use, as leftovers would get stale. Here was an embarrassing situation, and the host's need was great. So he went out to borrow bread from a friend.
Not surprisingly, his friend’s family had retired for the night. This may have been a large family, in a one room home, sleeping close together for warmth. Sometimes even livestock also was kept in the house at night. The father did not want to get up and disturb every person and animal!! But there was this persistent, shameless knocking. So he got up anyway and gave what his friend needed, the food for his company.
Being a good Teacher, Jesus then explained the meaning of this parable: we must persist in prayer. But in our case it’s not like battering at God's door until an unwilling God gives us what we want. Jesus is making the point that if an unwilling neighbor can be coerced into giving what a friend needs, HOW MUCH MORE will a loving Father God supply all His children's needs.
We still need intensity, sincerity, passion in our prayers, but the most important thing is that we are going to One who knows our needs better than we know them ourselves. No good father who really loves his child would be so uncaring as to give him a snake in place of a fish, or a scorpion in place of an egg. "How much more will God give good things to those who ask Him" (Matthew 7:11).
Jesus tells us to keep asking, searching, knocking. These are all different ways to visualize prayer, and all are valid. If we persist, our prayers will eventually be answered according to God's 'How much more' for us, in particular when we ask for the power, love, and direction of His Holy Spirit. Some needs change from day to day, but our need for communion with God remains constant. If we desire anything for God's glory, we are instructed to pray until we get it.
- Learn to pray by praying. We teach our ESL participants in the Christian Women’s Job Corps that to learn English, one has to actually speak it often.
- Pray that you will love the Giver more than the gift.
- Pray the Model Prayer as your own.
- Thank God for the 100+ charter members of BBC, who prayed God's will and birthed BBC. God has blessed all of us with MUCH MORE!