February 12, 2018

Persistent Prayer

Luke 11:5-13

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.

—  Luke 11:8

Who would knock on their neighbor’s door at midnight and ask for three loaves of bread? Maybe a better question: Why did Luke put this story in his gospel account?

We may not be familiar with the Middle Eastern world, but Jesus told stories that fit the context of his times. Everyone who was listening knew what he was getting at in his stories. Jesus wanted to let everyone know about the hospitality of God by listening to and watching him.

In the New Testament context, hospitality meant everything. Hospitality trumped inconvenience. Jesus gave an example that everyone knew happened quite often. Unexpected guests showed up at all times of the night because travel was easier when the hot sun was not beating down. So the friend who troubled his neighbor at midnight for bread was not asking something so unusual.

Jesus’ words make sense to people who become frustrated that their prayers seem to evaporate into thin air and get no results. Jesus makes clear, however, that God will not violate his integrity. We are to keep on praying and trusting that God will graciously and generously supply what we need.

Jesus endorsed persistent prayer. We are to “pray continually . . . for this is God’s will” for us (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

Master Jesus, I will knock, trusting that the door is open. Thank you for your hospitality that meets my needs today. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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