The Parables of Jesus
March 17, 2022
Luke 11:5-8; 9-10, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Do you remember how difficult it seemed to be to learn specific skills when you were a child? The one skill I can remember trying to master the most was using a Hula Hoop.
Getting a hula hoop to rotate around your mid-section by rotating your hips seems like it would be easy to accomplish. But, as most of you know, it’s not; it takes practice. It takes you being persistent. You swing the hula hoop around your stomach/waist, and it drops down over your legs to the ground. You pick it up and try again, and again. Suddenly, you start to figure out how to move your hips just right, and now the hula hoop keeps going around your waist as long as you keep the proper hip movement. You did it!
You were persistent. You tried repeatedly and finally learned to hula hoop, just like your friends. (I had a young lady named Lauren in my youth group many years ago. She could keep a hula hoop going around her waist for an incredible amount of time. She never lost a hula hoop contest.)
Today’s parable also deals with being persistent, in this case, as it pertains to prayer.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity11:8 Or yet to preserve his good name he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” Luke 11:5-8
It’s essential to set the scene for this parable. Just before Jesus said these words above, He had taught His disciples what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Like in Matthew 6, one of Jesus’ disciples comes to Him and says, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1b
As Jesus’ parable deals with bread and knocking at your neighbor’s door at a late hour asking for some, you might think He was changing subjects. But instead, the point Jesus is making is that persistence pays off. So let’s look at the following two verses, where Jesus reiterates the importance of being persistent.
“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. Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10
Here’s the point. Jesus is telling us to be persistent in praying. Because persistent prayer pays off.
“How much more likely that our heavenly Father will respond when we come to Him again and again with our needs. Our asking, seeking, and knocking will not be in vain. What he heavenly Gather grants in response to our persistent prayer will be good for us.”
(Peoples Bible Commentary, Luke. Victor H. Prange. 1992, Pp. 131.)
Another verse that connects well with this parable about praying persistently is:
“pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
In the Thessalonians passage, the Apostle Paul tells us to pray continually. He does not mean to pray every moment of every day. Instead, Paul is telling us that prayer should happen throughout our day.
Remember this. Prayer is not just about being persistent and praying for our needs and wants throughout the day. Prayer is also a way to say thank you. Too often, people forget to thank God for prayers fulfilled, even if they are not answered to our liking.
Be persistent in prayer. Ask, seek, and knock. God will answer your prayers in His time and in a way that is good for you.
Dear Lord. So often, I fail at being persistent with my prayers. So many times, I don’t pray at all, trying to resolve problems and situations myself without your help. Lord, help me to always come to you persistently in prayer. Thank you for the many prayers you have answered in my life. And all of the answered prayers that are yet to come. Amen.