John wrote, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1.18).
If we have any question about God’s nature or his ways among humans, Jesus always gives us the best answer.
With Jesus’ teaching on prayer, we have God’s point of view on the subject. There is no higher authority and we can place our faith squarely on his words.
A Parable About Prayer
Jesus used parables to gain the attention of his audience and to persuade them to act in a certain way.
The fact that Jesus would use a parable to convince us to pray demonstrates the importance he places on getting us to pray.
— Luke 11.5-8 – And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;
“For a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’
“And he answers from within, ‘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.’
“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.”
One night while living in Louisiana, my phone rang at 3:00 in the morning.
One of my acquaintances was in the emergency room after being stabbed by his wife. He wanted me to come to the hospital and pray for him.
None too happy about leaving my bed, I got up and drove to the hospital to pray with him.
An old crusty doctor was putting several stitches in the man’s arm, while the man was crying out in pain.
The doctor turned to me and said, “When someone gets drunk and gets me out of bed to sew them up, I don’t use Novocaine.”
The Parable of the Friend at Midnight did not involve a drunk fight where a husband lost to the wife. However, there are some similarities.
The primary similarity is with the word “persistence” in verse 8. This is the only time the word appears in the Bible.
The word that is translated “persistence” or “importunity” actually means “shamelessness.”
The man who knocked on his neighbor’s door at midnight was shameless. Like the man who called me at 3:00 AM for prayer, this man was not deterred by what was considered proper behavior.
He persisted in his concern with shameless abandon.
If were the one telling the story of the Friend at Midnight, it could be easily dismissed. Since Jesus told this parable, we must consider how to adjust our lives to its truth.
Parables are told to encourage positive change in the lives of the hearers. Jesus told the parable to change the way people pray.
His interpretation of the parable describes the actions he desires from everyone who encounters it.
— Luke 11.9-10 – “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Let’s embrace the full blessing of the parable and Jesus’ interpretation. He expects us to pray and to ask for what is needed in our lives.
If you realize that Jesus is present with in your prayer room, you can join Jesus in bold, persistent praying for what is most important to him and to you.
The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11.1-4) is a great outline of topics you can pray about.
Jesus and you make quite a team. Try it out!
Prayer for the Holy Spirit
John the Baptist said this about Jesus, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me;
“I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3.11).
Jesus came to baptize or immerse people in the life of the Holy Spirit. It makes sense that he will joyfully give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
— Luke 11.11-13 – “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?
“Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?
“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!”
On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day mothers go to great lengths to provide their families with the best meals possible.
If mothers receive great joy in providing excellent food for their families, how much more will our heavenly Father give the gift of the Spirit to those who ask?
Parables to Persuade
It seems strange that Jesus had to use parables to persuade people to accept two of his greatest gifts.
Unfortunately, Jesus knew that humans need persuading.
Let’s take his parables and interpretation seriously and make some commitments.
(1) We choose to take advantage of the great gift of prayer.
(2) We ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower our lives.
(3) We will continue to learn from Jesus in his school of prayer.
Rudy Ross and I have a YouTube video on this subject. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy has a considerable wealth of knowledge to give you through the videos.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.