Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
After watching Jesus pray, His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. In Luke 11, He teaches His disciples to pray by using parables of the persistent friend and a good father. He responded to them in a fourfold statement. First, He gave them a model. We have looked at this model the last four days. Then He revealed the character of God as He contrasted it with that of the unjust judge. He then gave them the charter of prayer in the words, “Ask, seek, knock,” and finally revealed the ground of confidence as it existed in the Fatherhood of God.
Both of these passages in the Gospel of Luke have to do with boldness and persistence in prayer. God is not asleep! Sometimes we feel as though God does not want to answer our prayers. According to these parables, God does want to answer our prayers and He will. We do not have to storm the gates of heaven in order to attract God’s attention. God is not reluctant to hear and answer our prayers. God tells us in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” God wants to hear and answer.
God always hears the prayers of His children and answers them. But when He says no, it is because we are not praying for that which is best for us. We pray with no knowledge of the future. God not only knows the future but has ordained all our days before they even happen. As we continually pursue intimacy with God through prayer, we get to know God and His will becomes more evident. Therefore, we must be persistent in prayer. Prayer is an invitation into the heart of the Father. We are invited to know and carry on a transparent conversation with the One who loves us unconditionally.
God is not like the unjust judge or the unresponsive friend. God desires to have an intimate relationship with His sons and daughters. Prayer is the most effective way of connecting with God’s heart. This is why it is so important to be persistent in prayer. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Questions to Ponder:
Do you often feel that God is not hearing your prayers? What is your typical response when God says no? What does it mean in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 when it says, “Pray continually”? How have the devotions this week shaped your understanding of the spiritual discipline of prayer?
- Praise the Lord as the Lover of your soul, Bridegroom King, King of Glory, Helper, Shield, Defender, and the One who is intimate with all your ways.
- Tell Him you are sorry for the times you have grieved His Spirit by not talking/communing with Him. Receive His forgiveness and tender mercy. Ask Him to help you carve out time daily to talk to Him. Tell Him You love Him. Then receive His love back and bask in His unfailing, eternal love.
- Prayerfully consider with the Lord how you can be intentional about praying without ceasing. Sometimes having note cards or stickies around your house or workspace can help you remember Him. Alternatively, you can set a phone timer.
King of Glory, Eternal God, Papa, I praise You for being El-Roy, the God who Sees and the God who hears. Thank You, Lord, that we don’t have to try to get Your attention or earn Your affection. We already have You. You are our God who is looking to see whose heart is Yours. You are drawing us to Yourself in the place of intimacy, wooing us, beckoning us to come, come, come, come to You. Thank You for making a way for me and Your church to enter into the holy of holies. Thank You, LORD, that You are never too busy, never stressed, never tired of us. Thank You that You want us to depend on You. You want us to lean into You, and You love to hear our voice. Oh Father, honor our weak “yes” to You. Honor our weak glance at You, and open the eyes of our hearts that we may know You better. Open the eyes of our hearts that we may know the hope that is set before us with all the saints, and that we may know the Holy Spirit power that is within each one of us, Your children. Oh God, I ask that we would be more famous in heaven, in the place of prayer and intercession, than we are famous on earth. Help us to respond to Your on-going invitation to be with You in the place of intimacy, and then, Holy Spirit, I ask that You would empower us to run with You in ministry, making Your name known to those around us. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask these things. Amen.