And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:5-10)
This section of Scripture is immediately following the model for prayer where Jesus taught the disciples to pray. Here Jesus gives some additional information of being persistent in prayer.
He tells a hypothetical story of going to a friend at midnight with a need and receiving what is asked for because of being persistent in asking. That word “impudence” in our English means to not show respect for, but that’s not exactly what this implying here. It is implying that this person is such a close friend that they feel they can interrupt them in the middle of the night with a type of boldness and shameless persistence in their asking.
If you’re only acquainted with someone, you certainly wouldn’t call or text them in the middle of the night, right? That would be considered rude. But if it’s your parent, sibling, close friend – you definitely have more freedom to approach them in the middle of the night. With God, we have even more freedom to go to Him at any hour of the day or night because by grace through faith we are no longer at enmity with God, we are His friends and children and can boldly approach the throne of grace for help. We don’t need to follow a certain etiquette, because He’s our Abba, our Daddy!
Now there’s an important factor here. We can’t just ask for anything and expect God to magically give it to us; God’s not a genie existing to provide our every desire. But we can know that if we are seeking God, loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we can indeed pray in the perfect will of God. And for the things when in our flesh we don’t pray in His will, we are reminded why Jesus included “Your will be done” in the model of prayer He taught. With that in mind, be persistent in prayer.
Now our persistence to another human being causes an urgency for human reasons. In this example Jesus gave, it’s mainly out of annoyance to the persistence; but God doesn’t sleep, God isn’t annoyed with us for our persistence, and God isn’t even changed by our persistence because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever – but our persistence in prayer changes US. It gives us time for our hearts to change and align with God so that when we ask, we ask in alignment with His will in which, we will receive, find, and the door will be opened to us.
As you persistently pray to the Father for things, be open to letting the Holy Spirit change your heart and mind, molding and shaping you into the image of Jesus through the transforming process of sanctification in your life. If you’re not receiving, finding, and having doors opened – don’t be discouraged, instead I encourage you to ask God to search your heart and align it with His so you can pray in His will, knowing that in His will the answer is always yes. I’ll leave you with these verses from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth:
As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1: 18-20)