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“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him, as many as he needeth.” – Luke 11:5-8
Keep at it.
Keep coming to the throne of grace.
Keep praying. It’s not in vain. God hears every prayer.
The scenario is simple: it’s late in the midnight hour and someone has dropped in unexpectedly. The problem with the scenario is due to the lateness of the hour and the unexpected nature of the visit there was not enough time to gather resources to care for this visitor.
The proposed solution: knock on the neighbor’s door who is a friend and ask for some help. The problem with the solution: again, stating the obvious, it’s midnight. We are in bed. Are you trying to wake up the kids with all that knocking and yelling out there?! “I cannot rise and give thee.”
Now, I don’t know about this neighbor, but waking up at midnight is not exactly a welcomed intrusion into my otherwise restful night. Then, to have the audacity to show up banging on my door and asking for food at that time… well, that’s a whole other story! But hospitality was central to the culture of the day and was expected to be doled out accordingly.
Also, in those days, sleeping arrangements were generally shared by the whole family. Doors had big, heavy bolts that clanged and banged if moved. To get to the bread one would have to step over kids, make noise to get the bread, and bang and clang the door opened and shut again. At this point, the whole house could easily be disturbed.
Jesus stated that the neighbor eventually will give his friend what he is asking but not because he is a friend. He will only get up out the bed because of his “importunity;” or his persistence.
Jesus uses this scenario to teach us the power of persevering prayer. We cannot give up so easily. We have been afforded the privilege to come before the throne of grace “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16). We must be persistent in that privilege.
One’s lack of persistence in prayer can be tied to a lack of faith. Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge and the widow to illustrate His point: “Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me,” (Luke 18:5). Jesus then asked, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8, emphasis mine).
A powerful key component of prayer is not to give up too quickly.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Psalm 18:6
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12
Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer
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