Luke 11:5-8 – Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ “Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
Jesus continues His lesson in prayer with an illustration from life in the neighborhood. Previously He instructed with what manner we ought to pray with. This lesson encourages importunity (persistence, fervency and boldness) in prayer. Suppose a person had a sudden emergency because his friend (who is traveling) showed up at his house in the middle of the night. Since this visit caught him totally unprepared, he goes to his neighbor friend at this unreasonable hour asking to borrow three loaves of bread with which to feed his guest. (Everyone loves a knock on the door at midnight from someone asking for a loan, right? It’s especially grand to have this happen when all your children are finally asleep in the same room with you!) It should not be surprising that the one inside responds to the request, “Don’t bother me. We’ve locked everything up and we’re trying to keep things quiet for the children. I can’t give you anything now.” But his neighbor will not take no for an answer! He continues to knock, letting his friend know that he’s not leaving without getting what he came for. So, if he is going to get rid of him, then he must get out of bed and give him what he needs. Friendship wasn’t enough reason to get up and help, but persistence and importunity provide the incentive to obtain the desired results.
In Luke 18:1-7, Jesus provided another parable with the same prayer lesson. With this parable, He taught that men ought to always pray, and never lose heart, never faint, never give up! This doesn’t mean that we will change God’s mind by importunity. What we discover is that, while we may get others to cooperate by our importunity because they are DISPLEASED with our persistence, with God it’s because He IS PLEASED with it! This lesson will be of value if we will allow it to motivate us in prayer. We must come to God with boldness and confidence for what we need, just as the man who came to his neighbor friend that he knows loves him and will be inclined to be kind to him. Recognize that when we come to God with our request, we come to One who loves us and is inclined to be kind to us! So, come to Him for BREAD! Come to Him for what we need! Come to Him for what we cannot do without!
Our Lord’s lesson also reminds us that we don’t just come to Him in prayer for ourselves, but for others as well. This man did not come for bread for himself, but for his friend! There is nothing that would please God more than to come to Him asking for Bread that enables us to do good toward others who come to us when we may not be prepared in our own resources. We learn here that we may come to God with more boldness when we are in a fix, if that dilemma is not caused by our own folly or carelessness. Rather than give ourselves a stroke, go to God with confidence and knock on His door that we may obtain grace and help in our time of need! This man would not have wanted bread if his friend hadn’t dropped in unexpectedly! When opportunity to meet a need knocks on our door at midnight and finds us lacking in supply, we may use this as an opportunity to knock on heaven’s door to obtain that supply! And, we ought to be mindful that if importunity could prevail with a man who was angry at it, how much more with a God who is infinitely more kind and ready to do good to us than we are to one another, and is NOT ANGRY with our persistence, but accepts it – especially when it’s for good reason! Remember that if He doesn’t answer our prayers right away, He will in due time, if we continue to pray!
Prayer Challenge: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16