It’s hard to believe I’ve been back in the States for almost two weeks. I feel as though its only been a few days and I’m still trying to reorient myself…but I also hit the ground running when I came home, so that may be part of it. I’m still struggling to get my bearings on a fast approaching Christmas. Aagh!
But…aside from that…this Sunday we’ll be continuing our study in Luke. (“What? No Christmas message?”… “No, Christmas is a week away, and we’ll be having our Christmas Eve Burning House Mash Up on Dec 24th at 6:30pm, so you can get your Christmas on then.”) This Sunday, we’ll be reading Luke 11:5-13. Its a continuation of our study from last week, as we consider Jesus’ instructions on prayer.
In the first part of the chapter, the disciples wanted to learn how to pray. So Jesus provided a model, a guide for what should characterize our prayers, and then, in v5-13, he elaborates on the idea of prayer by telling a couple of story examples.
The story of the friend at midnight, or more appropriately the story of the grumpy, sleepy neighbor, is an odd story to tell when elaborating on prayer. Many people see this parable as an encouragement to be bold and persistent in prayer. I’m not so convinced…and I’ll elaborate on why this Sunday. What if we were to look at this story as a contrast? I’ll leave it at that…do you have any thoughts on the subject?
As you read what Jesus says in the context of teaching us how to pray…what does he spend the majority of time talking about, in you opinion?
Why do you suppose He ties the whole thing up saying the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? What does that have to do with anything that he’s said so far?
I hope this will be an encouraging, provocative time of exploring the Scriptures. See you Sunday! Also, since our subject is prayer, take some time to visit the Prayer Wall of this site…there are many needs the people of our community have, which we want to keep before God in prayer. God is our hope, and He will make the difference, so I encourage us all to pray.
2 thoughts on “More Than a Friend”
After re-reading this passage this morning I think I see what you may be meaning. In my 40something years in church I have always heard this story taught as an example of boldness in prayer. “Don’t be afraid to get God outta bed. Sometimes God wants you to prove that you’re serious. Don’t grow weary in well-doing, keep knocking and God will (eventually) give you what you want.”
But it seems that this is another one of Jesus’s “you’ve heard it said, but now I say…” moments. Instead Jesus seems to be saying that prayer is more like a father and child relationship than like that of the noisy neighbor. No parent likes to feel like they are being gamed or conned by their kids, instead Jesus says to be direct and honest in prayer. And then, showing how God will respond, he uses examples that illustrate how earthly parents (who love their kids) respond to simple, direct requests from their kids. I love how Jesus says, “you guys are bad and you’d do this for your kids, so how much better do you think your loving Father in Heaven will react?” Looking forward to hearing your thoughts Sunday!!
Can their be anything more encouraging than to tie the concept of all that we ask we will recieve with prayer. I know in my life my prayers have been answered beyond anything I imagined, however, mostly without that thing I was praying for. I believe it is best summed up in that prayer that was written by the unknown confederate soldier.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey
I asked for health that I might do greater things
I was given infirmity that I might do nobler things
I asked for riches that I might be happy
I was given proverty that I might be wise
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life-
I got nothing that I asked for-but everything I had hoped for;
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered
I am among all people most richly blessed.