Summary: We look at the kinds prayers we ought to pray in which God will answer "yes" every time.
Most of you have probably heard that God answers our prayers in one of three ways: Yes, No, or wait. I believe that this is a wise way of looking at prayer but today we’re going to look only at the first answer. Honestly, when you say that God answered your prayers you mean that he said “Yes!” You don’t mean he said “No!” And so it is when Jesus taught about prayer in the Gospels. He encouraged his followers to pray expecting a “yes” answer.
If I was to take a survey in our congregation to find out how much of a percentage of your prayers were “yes”, how much “no” and how much “wait” I wouldn’t be surprised if the smallest percentage would be “yes” answers. But in our text this morning Jesus teaches ways we can pray in order to turn many of our “no” prayers into “yes” prayers.
I. First God says “yes” to bold prayers (5-8)
The way Jesus teaches this is through a parable. A man is visited unexpectedly by a friend at his home in the middle of the night. This is an incredible challenge for this man since he must set something before the guest and he must eat. In the middle east, a guest in the home is like having God in the home. Lack of provision is unthinkable.
Now he isn’t going to just feed his guest bread. He’s going to place a variety of dishes before him and the guest will use his bread as his knife, fork, and spoon. As he eats he will break off bite-sized pieces and dip them in the dishes. That’s the way they ate – so bread is essential!
But he doesn’t have bread. Even if he has all the other dishes, how can one eat without bread? It’s like not having utensils to eat with. So he goes over to his neighbor’s house to ask for help.
Now as he seeks his neighbor’s help, his neighbor refuses to help even if it is a friend. It’s late. His children are in bed. But eventually he will help his neighbor feed his guest. Why? Let’s read verse 8 “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.” It appears that he will help his friend because of his persistence – that he won’t go away – he won’t stop asking. But actually the real reason behind him helping his friend is his reputation.
You see the word here in the original language means “shamelessness.” There is an aspect to the culture of that time that we need to understand. A guest in one man’s home is considered a guest of the village. If he is mistreated by one man, he is mistreated by the whole village. And so there is the sense of shared guilt. If this man doesn’t take care of his friend, the man who refused to help would be met with cries of “shame” all over the village. So he will gladly provide all that is needed.
And so the point is that when we pray, we come boldly to the Lord. We don’t need to be afraid of bothering him or thinking that he won’t want to hear about our problems or petitions. There are needs to be met in your family or in our church or in your life and the only one who can meet those needs is the Lord. The survival and reputation of his children are on the line. So he encourages us to boldly go before the throne and make your supplications known to him. He won’t refuse!
II. Secondly, God says “yes” to persistent prayers. (9-10)
Notice the growing intensity of these prayers as Jesus presents them. Imagine you are looking for someone – let’s say it’s your long lost friend from high school. The first step is to ask around from people who might know him and where he lives, what he’s doing, how you might locate him. Now that might satisfy your curiosity but if you are really interested in finding that friend, you take that address that you were able to get, look on a map, get in the car and start driving to that town and that street address. You finally found his house and you might be satisfied with that, you might have seen him driving into the garage, and walking into the house after work. But if you want to complete your goal, you walk up to the front door and knock. You hear the TV on. You saw him come home. No one answers. You keep on knocking. Still no one. Do you go home? Do you leave? No! You keep on knocking until your friend comes to the door and then the great reunion begins.