And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:5-10
God tells us over and over in the Bible to pray. There are many reasons and advantages to praying: we develop a relationship with God, we know that God hears us, we can hear back from God, we can receive peace and we may receive what we want. God loves us and wants for us to tell Him all of our desires. The parable of Luke 11 gives us a different slant on prayer. Jesus is telling us “how” to pray, not “why” to pray. The key point in these verses is to be persistent in prayer and diligent to keep praying.
When my oldest child was a newborn, he would sleep all day. I would look at him and think such nice thoughts. I would have thoughts of unconditional love and dedication to commit my life to raising him. But as soon as all the lights were out in the house, he would wake me up by crying and screaming. My thoughts were not as nice then. I was tired from labor and my body did not want to get up to address his cries in a dark, quiet house leaving my soft, warm bed. If he had not screamed, I might have slept right through his cries. But because of his persistence, I got up and tried my hardest to meet his needs the fastest and easiest way possible. It was not always because I had a sacrificial love that I got up to meet his need, but often because of my need to get back to sleep. That is Jesus’ point in Luke 11.
We all have those newborn cries and screams within us. The Lord tells us that He hears our prayers and will answer them according to His will and what is best for us. But sometimes we need to know the depths of our own desires, and we need to cry out to the Lord with an enduring persistence. Keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking…the key is persistence. When we see God answer those prayers, our faith is increased to continue praying for other things as well. Through persistence, we are rewarded.