Daily Devotional – Day 9
Read: Luke 11:5-10
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). After this, Jesus tells an unforgettable parable to describe the motivation and boldness the disciples should have in prayer. The parable (Luke 11:5-10) is of a man who went to his friend’s house at midnight and asked for food for a friend who came to visit. This wasn’t Taco Bell, but the man requested three loaves of bread in the middle of the night. Jesus used this very simple, yet practical (even probable), story to illustrate persistence in prayer. This guy was persistent in his request in what seemed like a most improper time of day. We approach God like that sometimes with talk of “if You are not too busy” and “sorry to interrupt you with something this small when you have so much on your plate like running the Universe.” The King James Version says this guy had importunity. That’s a word we don’t use anymore. It means “wearisome persistence and troublesomely demanding.” It wasn’t opportunity. Opportunity means “if the conditions are right”. Importunity means “even if the conditions are not right.” This word anaideionis (meaning annoyingly persistent) is used here and only this time in the New Testament. This guy is bold and persistent in his request. He didn’t care what time it was or how it may have inconvenience his friend.
The guy got out of bed and gave his friend want he persistently wanted. But think about the conditions. It was late. By midnight everyone had been asleep for hours. His kids were in bed (probably all in the same bed in a one room house). When you put the kids to bed you are as quiet as possible afterwards so not to wake them. The bulky door was locked and opening it would surely wake everyone up in the house. And who makes a bread run at midnight in that culture? Typically the food for the entire day was prepared in the morning. There was no Super Walmart around and people didn’t have a lot of supplies on hand in a pantry. This wasn’t an emergency – no one had died or was deathly ill. He probably even woke up others in the neighborhood as well with his persistent yelling and knocking. However, it was a very generous request by a friend trying his best to be hospitable in a culture that demanded hospitality. It was considered rude to not be hospitable to a friend or even a stranger. We would probably be tempted to say to him if he came to our house, “Just tell your guest to go to sleep and eat breakfast in the morning.”
Jesus says because of his boldness, not his friendship, the man gets up to meet the request. After all, the man doesn’t seem to be going away and by now people are starting to wake up anyway. This is, as Jesus says, “perhaps” what even a friend would do at such a request. Jesus is teaching us we should be bold in our prayers toward God. We aren’t approaching a human with limited resources, time, and patience. We aren’t wearing God down. Humans may act that way but we are approaching God. We do not bother God with our requests. God isn’t asleep – he never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4). We, perhaps, would feel like we have imposed on a friend with this type of request – but this wouldn’t impose on God. He actually says He will answer those who ask, seek, and knock (showing we should have persistent prayer). The words “ask, seek, and knock” really mean “keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking”. Jesus is telling us to be bold and aggressive and bang on the door of heaven. This isn’t begging God and nagging Him till He rolls His eyes and agrees. It is simply being persistent because more and more of His will wants to be done through our lives and we will be persistent to get it all. Does this mean we can ask for anything and God will give it to us? No. Remember, Jesus already taught us how to pray and what to pray for in the previous verses in the Lord’s Prayer. We can pray with boldness and persistence because God will listen and act on prayers that hallow His name, seek His coming Kingdom, and His will to be done.
- Are you persistent in praying for God’s name to be hallowed, Kingdom to come, and His will to be done? Are you persistent in praying for the wrong things?
- Are you sometimes reluctant in your prayers to God? Why?
- Do you tend to pray more prayers that seem possible or more prayers that seem impossible?
- Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking – do these represent your prayer style?
Lord, help me to pray in a way that honors your name. Help me to pray for what Your Kingdom deems important. Help me to know and pray your will. I’m sorry for giving up so soon in what you will and desire. I want to want more of what you want. Help me have the right motive in my heart in my prayer life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.