SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 11:5-13
A Friend Comes at Midnight
“5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
“9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!””
Memory Verse MARK 14:38 (NIV)
“WATCH AND PRAY SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION. THE SPIRIT IS WILLING BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK.”
In a previous editions of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we tried to understand some of the issues concerning the birth of the Messiah, the visit of the Magi and Herod’s wicked intentions. We want to go back to our studies through the Gospel of Luke. We stopped at Luke 11:4, the last part of the prayer Jesus taught the disciples. In this edition we want to look at Luke 11:5-13.
After Jesus had taught what we now call ‘The Lords’ Prayer’ he continued to teach something more about prayer. What he added to the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is basically an illustration to help us persist in our prayers. Jesus told a story to show that prayer should not be a one-time act as some Christians have come to believe. Rather it is a continuous action. It must be done continuously as Apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It is important to remind ourselves that the illustration given by Jesus does not in any way suggest that we should pray only when we need something from God. He was only emphasizing on the need for us to be persistent in our requests to God. Jesus was only emphasizing one aspect of the prayer he taught from Luke 11:1-4.
According to Jesus, a friend in need of something he or she thinks could be provided by another friend will not let any circumstances stop him or her from approaching them. He created a friendly atmosphere to show that God is not a stranger to us. We do not need to observe any protocols before approaching God in times of our needs. Therefore we can go to God just as we can approach our friends when we need something urgently from them.
Jesus also indicated that it is not as if anytime we ask for something from our friends we get it instantly. Jesus gave an illustration implying that supposing the friend refuses to give us what we want the moment we ask, we should not give up and go away. This is a reminder that we may not always get what we want from God the very moment we pray. Sometimes we may have to pray and pray and pray again before we have our requests granted.
Unfortunately many Christians fail to understand this principle of prayer and expect that their requests would be granted instantly. One thing we fail to understand is that unlike human beings who may not grant our requests instantly due to their personal comforts, God may not grant our requests instantly because He knows what is best for us. Sometimes God refuses to grant our requests instantly because He knows that may not be good for us. Sometimes too we are denied what we ask from God because of our sins or demonic influences. The good news is that even if our sins prevent us from getting our requests granted by God, we can humbly ask God for forgiveness and our sins shall be forgiven. If we approach God with pure hearts it can enhance our relationship with God. If our prayers are hindered by demonic spirits, our persistent prayers can cause God to send more of His messengers to battle for us in order for us to have our requests met as it happened to Daniel. In all these we should know that persistence is a very important key in our prayers.
Jesus emphasized his teaching by saying that believers should keep on seeking and knocking. According to him those who keep on knocking will have doors opened to them. Those who keep on seeking will find. This buttresses what he said in Matthew 7:7-8. It is obvious that prayer should be done persistently. However the element of a determined faith cannot be ruled out of persistent prayer. Those who can pray persistently are those who have faith in God and are determined to get what they ask for irrespective of the time it would take them to receive what they ask for. If we pray persistently without faith, nothing good can come out of our prayers. In the same vein if we pray in faith without being persistent we may also not have our requests granted. This shows that we do not just need to pray but pray persistently in faith.
Jesus ended the teaching on prayer with the assurance that our heavenly Father, who is more righteous than our earthly fathers, knows what is best for us and will grant the requests of those who persistently pray to Him. Our God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy, and we don’t have to grovel or beg as we come to Him with our requests. He is a loving Father who understands, cares and comforts. If humans can be kind, imagine how kind the Creator of kindness can be. This should encourage all believers to be bold and persistent in our prayers at all times. May we become more persistent and consistent in our prayers this year in Jesus’ name!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.