Persist in Prayer
by Julie Anderson
When his disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he taught the familiar model we call the Lord’s Prayer. But directly after, he gave another example of how to pray, using two hypothetical situations.
First, he asked his disciples to imagine knocking on a friend’s door in the middle of the night, while loudly demanding three loaves of bread to feed a surprise visitor. The sleepy friend replies “do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” However, he eventually changes his mind, gets up and gives away the bread, not because it was his friend asking, but because of his friend’s persistence (Luke 11:5-8 NRSV). Strong’s Concordance defines the Greek word for persistence as “shameless impudence.” Jesus was illustrating God’s desire for us to come to him with boldness and make our most desperate needs and desires known. If persistence causes an earthly friend to answer a need, how much more will our heavenly Father respond to audacious prayer? Jesus teaches on: “Ask, and it will be given you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” God loves to inhabit our earnest prayers and welcome us into his presence (vv. 9-10).
Jesus begins his second illustration on how to pray with a set of questions. If your child asks for a fish, will you give him a snake or for an egg will you give him a scorpion? The implication is—of course not! “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (vv. 11-13). Let us persist in approaching the throne of God boldly, asking our loving heavenly Father to provide for our physical and emotional needs. But more important, let’s also ask the Father to meet our spiritual needs by pouring out his Holy Spirit on us, that we might come to know the fullness of his glory.