Summary: The parable of the persistent neighbour and how this is a model for knocking on heaven's door. Ask, Seek and Knock.

Persistent Prayer

JCC 10.01.10 am (session 3 Prayer)

Luke 11: 5-13

This comes straight after ‘Lord teach us to pray’ and the ‘Lord’s Prayer’

Prayer was never intended to be an instrument for the accomplishing of man's will upon the earth, but the instrument for the accomplishing of God's will upon the earth

This is the only recorded parable in the gospels of this story

This is not a reflection of us going to God

Jesus wasn’t saying God was like this, but we are; meaning if we would act in this manner, how much more will our Father in heaven deal ‘more’ graciously with us

Food was not as readily available as it is today

There wasn’t a 24 hour Tesco or Asda

Only enough bread was baked each day for their needs

Also, hospitality was held in high regard and was seen almost as a duty

Visitors were welcomed and cared for, regardless of the hour they arrived

People often travelled in the evening to avoid the midday heat

A traveller arriving near midnight was not an uncommon event

Families slept in one room, most times with their animals too

Climbing over to get to the door, wake the children

This parable shows a dilemma and the solving of that dilemma

We come times in our lives when we are face with a dilemma

We don’t always know ‘how’ to solve them

Many times we too will go to a friend and share our dilemma hoping that maybe they could advise or help us through the situation

This poor unprepared host has a late guest who is hungry after a long and exhausting journey

It is his duty as host to provide a meal, but he has no bread

Not to provide for his guest’s needs would not only bring shame upon him and his family, but to the village as well

He gave the bread just to shut him up

We have convinced ourselves that we must keep beating on God‘s door until we overcome God’s unwillingness to act

But is that what v 8 is teaching us about prayer, of course not The meaning of the Greek word (anaideian) translated “importunity” (KJV, RSV) and as “persistence” (NKJV, NIV) is the key to understanding the lesson that Jesus is teaching here

Highlight this word in your Bible

It is the only time this word appears in the entire New Testament

The Greek word carries the idea of “shamelessness,” the question is which of the men in this story is shameless?

Some say the neighbour who got up and gave his friend bread, saying that he did so to avoid bringing shame to the village by breaking the rules of hospitality

Or, does it point to the man who came making the request?

It’s suggested he was shameless in his persistence, continuing his pleading until his friend responded

This type of prayer sorts out what is important to us

Ask a child what they want and they will give you a long list (Christmas)

But listen what is spoken of most and you will know what they really want

Illustration: Billy Graham’s wife Ruth said she was glad God didn’t answer what she asked for otherwise she would have married 5 men before Billy

It’s like God says, ‘come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about it again’

Come let us reason together, though your sins be scarlet, they shall be white as snow Isaiah 1:18

We don’t have to twist God’s arm

But what gives us the right to come boldly or shamelessly to God with our needs?

Illustration: Roman history tells the story of a Roman emperor in his chariot partaking in a parade; Cheering people lined the streets while the legionnaires were stationed to keep people at a safe distance. The emperor’s family sat on a platform to watch him go by in all the pride of his position. As the emperor came near to the place where his family was sitting, a young boy jumped from the platform, hedged his way through the crowd, and tried to evade a legionnaire so he could run to the emperor’s chariot. The soldier stopped him and said, “You cannot go near the emperor.” The boy laughed, and said; “He may be your emperor but he is my father.” Then he ran into his father’s open arms.” [Martin Wiles. “Jesus on Prayer.” (Sermon Central.)

Hebrew reminds us as believer’s that because our high priest Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the father in heaven, we can “ come boldly before the throne of grace” Heb 4:16

We have no need to fear because we are children of the king

We can pray boldly and passionately

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you.”

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