Today’s Scripture: Luke 11:5-10
5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
If we were to list all of the attributes of our society, I don’t think persistence would be at or near the top of the list. Sure, there are one-off stories about athletes or students who persist until they reach their goal. But as a whole, I’m not sure we are that “persistent.” If anything, I think we lean towards the “just give up” side of things – or at least I do!
I think that’s why these words from Jesus seem so strange in our ears. Is Jesus really telling us to act with “shameless persistence”. Yes. Yes he is.
When I think about this passage my first response is to see it as a commentary on God – that for some reason God does not want to give us what we need but gets annoyed easily and eventually just gives in. Kind of like a parent of a three-year-old who just keeps begging for one more French-fry. In this way of looking at things we are the three-year-old and Jesus is telling us to just keep bugging God until God finally breaks. But is that really what is going here? I don’t think so.
Instead, I think this passage is about us – the asker – the knocker – the seeker. Jesus seems to know that we tend to come down on the “just give up” side instead of the “shameless persistence” side. But with prayer it’s important to keep going. Why?
Well, I don’t think it’s because there is some magic line out there that once we cross we get what we pray for. No, I think it’s because Jesus knows that prayer changes us and our relationship to God. Prayer forms us into disciples, so we have to keep at it.
The more we pray – the closer we are to God. The more we share with God what we are going through and what we are feeling and what our desires are – the closer we are to God. The more we lift up the needs of others and pray God’s best for them – the closer we are to God. And the closer we are to God – the deeper our discipleship. And the deeper our discipleship the closer the Kingdom of God. God wants us to keep knocking and keep asking and keep seeking because doing so brings about God’s Kingdom. It’s that simple.
Whatever you are praying for today – keep going. For everyone who knocks has the door opened. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who seeks will find.
God help us to be persistent in prayer and draw us closer to you through our persistence.
This Week’s Immerse Passages:
Monday: Pages 1-12 (Luke 1 – 4:13)
Tuesday: Pages 13-27 (Luke 4:14-9:50)
Wednesday: Pages 28-37 (Luke 9:51-13:20)
Thursday: Pages 37-47 (Luke 13:21-19:27)
Friday: Pages 47-59 (Luke 19:28-24:53)
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