Read Exodus 31, Ecclesiastes 7, Luke 11.
This devotional is about Luke 11
Luke 11 begins with a request. The disciples asked Jesus for lessons on how to pray (v.1). Jesus responded with what is called, “The Lord’s Prayer.” But maybe it should be called, “The Lord’s Lesson on Prayer” because these verses don’t tell us what to pray but how to pray. In other words, this was not given as a prayer to be recited or repeated. Instead, it was an outline for how to pray (vv. 1-4). Pray about these things, Jesus is saying.
But that’s only the beginning of his lesson on prayer. After giving the lesson on how to pray, Christ told them a story to encourage them to pray. That story, in verses 5-8, could be called, The Parable of the Annoying Friend.
It goes like this: A man and his family are trying to sleep (v. 7). A friend of his comes knocking at midnight to ask for some bread to feed his unexpected (and nocturnal) visitors (vv. 5-6). Nobody wants to get up in the middle of the night if he can avoid it. That’s especially true if you live in a one room house, like most people in Christ’s lifetime did. You might wake your little children if you get up and they might not go back to sleep very easily. So the sleeping man refuses, at first, to do anything for his nighttime-knocking friend (v. 7).
However, the foodless friend will not take no for an answer. So, Christ said, the annoyed would-be-sleeper will finally get up and give up the bread “because of your shameless audacity…” (v. 8). In other words, if you can be annoying enough, you can get what you need from a friend who has better things to do. Your “friend” will do it just to make you go away, not because he values your friendship so much.
This, Christ argued, is how you and I should pray. We should pray with the kind of (annoying) persistence that the midnight knocker displayed. Christ applied this parable to prayer in verses 9-10: “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. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
There are two lessons about prayer in this parable. First, pray boldly. Ask God for what you want, not what you think is reasonable. Second, pray persistently. Don’t give up asking God for what you want even if he doesn’t give it to you right away.
Now, the lesson here is not that God is busy with other things, or too lazy to help. The lesson isn’t that God doesn’t really want to answer your prayer with yes, but you can badger him into giving you what you want if you’re annoying enough. In verses 11-13, Jesus said that God is a loving father. He waits with answers to prayer, sometimes, for your growth not because he’s unwilling.
So…, how’s your prayer life? Do you pray daily? Do you keep asking for things even when God doesn’t give them? How much will you pray for something before you give up? Are you praying for spiritual things? Jesus said that God wants to “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (v. 13). This isn’t saying that you don’t have the Holy Spirit but that God gives spiritual things to those who ask through the power of the Spirit.
If you’re praying for a wayward child, don’t give up. Keep pounding on that door in prayer. If you’re praying for an unsaved spouse or parent, keep audaciously asking for the Lord’s attention on that. Whatever you do in prayer, don’t give up praying. That’s the lesson of Luke 11:5-13.