Summary: Most of us have "no soliciting" signs at our doors - God has one that says: "Please solicit!"
NO SOLICITING WITH US
1. No soliciting
- Signs at home
- "We are happy with our current religious, political, and buying choices. Please don't pester us to change. No soliciting."
- "Please respect our privacy. No soliciting."
- Signs at church
- The friend answers from his bed, 'Don't bother me. The door's locked; my children are all down for the night; I can't get up to give you anything.'
- He tried it at a friend's house
- not cold-call door-knocking
4. Make yourself heard
- if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he'll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
GOD DOES NOT HAVE A NO SOLICITING SIGN
1. With God the story is different. His sign reads: Please solicit
- Here's what Jesus is saying: Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open.
- Famous quote
- Neighbor's kids: ask for water, seek their ball in our backyard, knock and ask for Marie to come out and play
- Daytime fine, in the middle of the night that would be a whole different story with me
2. With God the story is different. His son is all grown up
- God does not have a baby that he does not want to be woke up in the middle of the night
- Truly available 24/7
3. He is a friend
- Jesus reminds us that asking God is asking a friend
- not some transcendent deity
4. Soliciting Prayer
- talking to God is called prayer
- "Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open" famously expresses the hope that our prayers will be heard
- Does anyone remember what the man is asking his friend for and why?
- The words we use in our prayers do matter big time!
- If we don't take them seriously we are wasting our time and the door will not be opened because we are not as direct as Jesus wants us to be
- The original request was: 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don't have a thing on hand.'
- Let us take a look at the three crucial parts of this prayer
2. Friend, lend me three loaves of bread.
- exactly know what you need
- exactly know who you are talking to and why
- reasonably expect him or her to be able to help you with what you are asking for
3. An old friend traveling through just showed up
- so actually here we have another man knocking on a friend's door, starting a chain reaction
- the guy asking for bread already opened his door for a friend in the middle of the night
- he's not even exactly asking for himself but he wants to be able to extend hospitality beyond measure
- before asking, seeking, knocking himself he answered his friend's asking, seeking, knocking
4. I don't have a thing on hand.
- I am nothing if it weren't for you
- I can't do anything without you
- God be with me even in the middle of the night. Amen.