Summary: Now having given the disciples a pattern for prayer, the Lord continues his instruction by telling a story. But why does he give us this parable? In the text we are going to see three principles about prayer.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 29
Luke 11: 5-13
Do you ever feel impatient with God? Does He seem late in answering your requests or meeting your needs? Certainly all of us as believer’s have had questions concerning prayer at some point in our Christian life. Why are we to continue to pray for something after if we have already prayed and we are believing God for the answer? Isn’t that unbelief? What about those times when we pray and we are certain of an answer, and yet no answer is forthcoming? We are confident that it is God’s will but nothing happens. What are we to do?
In Luke 11:1-4 in answer to the disciples request “Lord teach us to pray,” Jesus gave a prayer that is sometimes called “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer was more than just a prayer to be repeated it was to serve as a blueprint of all prayer that would be acceptable to God. While it is not wrong to recite the prayer, it is more important to understand its principles.
Now having given the disciples a pattern for prayer, the Lord continues his instruction by telling a story. But why does he give us this parable? In the text we are going to see three principles about prayer.
1. WE ARE TO PRAY BOLDLY vv. 5-8
”And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves; (6) for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’….”
In order to understand this parable we need to understand a few things about first century culture. First of all, food was not as readily available as it is today. There were of course, no 24 hour 7-11 convenience food stores on each corner. Therefore enough bread was baked each day for the needs of that day.
Secondly, hospitality was held in high regard and was seen almost as a duty. A visitor was welcomed and cared for, regardless of the hour of his arrival. In order to avoid the intense midday heat, people often traveled in the evening. A traveler arriving near midnight was not uncommon. Here is the dilemma. The poor unprepared host has a late arriving guest who is hungry after a long and exhausting journey and 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 himself and his family but to the village as a whole. But what is he to do? Though this man cannot supply the need himself he knows of another who can and will supply this need. So he goes to his friend’s house regardless of the lateness of the hour and to ask for his help.
Jesus is asking each of his listeners, “which of you has the nerve to wake up his friend (and possible his family as well) in the middle of the night to ask for bread?” The rest of the story speaks of this tension, as Jesus continues the story in verse seven, “… and he will answer from within and say, "Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? (8) I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”
Even today it is easy to understand this man’s reluctance to provide for his friend’s need. Anyone who has ever wrestled to get children into bed, understands this man’s unwillingness to do anything to arouse his children. But since the whole family slept in the same room, and even the smaller livestock was brought into the house (chicken, goats etc), to get up and meet this man’s needs meant considerable inconvenience. The man inside the house initial refused the request; friendship alone was not a sufficient reason to upset the whole household. Jesus is saying to His listeners, “Can you imagine a friend who would react in such a way?” and of course in so doing, he expected a negative reply. “No of course not!” Ultimately, the reluctant friend got up and gave his neighbor what he needed, for one reason only, the persistence of the man making the request.
Jesus is not comparing God to an sleepy, selfish and angry neighbor. He is contrasting the two; He is telling the disciples that if a neighbor can on the basis of friendship and social etiquette, be persuaded to met the needs of a friend, how much more will your father in heaven meet the needs of his children.