What do our prayers say about us?
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Jesus is teaching the disciples shortly before he begins to pray. Christian prayer goes back to the example and command of Jesus himself. In earlier verses, Jesus teaches the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Whilst we don’t necessarily need to pray the Lord’s Prayer; we do need to seriously think about how we pray. Instead of just praying the first thing that comes into our heads, we need to plan what we’re going to say. Prayer is a conversation with God. We are talking to the creator of the universe. He knows our needs before we even ask for them. His most foolish thought is greater than our wisest.
Another thing we need to consider is what are we praying for? Are we praying for our own circumstances? Do our prayers have a tone of ‘Help Me’ to them? Or are we praying for the advancement of God’s kingdom? Are we praying for people who don’t know Jesus to one day recognize him as Lord and Saviour? As followers of Jesus, these are things we should be praying for. Don’t get me wrong, we should ask God for help whenever we are struggling. But we should also be mindful of the people who don’t know Jesus and who need to hear the gospel. I’m only saying this because I know that I’m not the best example to follow in this area. Too often my prayers are very self-focused and I know I can do better.
The purpose of this parable is to encourage people to pray. Although the friend who has bread in his one-roomed house (where everyone slept close together) is unwilling to get out of bed, he will still supply bread due to the persistence of the caller. The parable works by contrast: if even a human friend responds to persistence, how much more will God respond without persistence, even if he seems to delay. God is persistent with us, even when we struggle to pray.
Head: God wants a relationship with us, even when we are distant. Why do you think he is so persistent?
Heart: How has this passage moved you towards God? Are there areas in your prayer life that need addressing?
Hands: What actions can you take to ensure that you’re always praying for people who need Jesus?
Prayer: Father God, we’re so sorry about the times when we don’t engage, connect and are distant from you. We’re sorry about the shallowness of our prayers, or even the times when we don’t pray at all. Help us to recognize you as the truly awesome God that you are. You created everything in the universe, yet you still want a relationship with us, even though we can be distant at times. Thank you for being persistent with us. We also pray for the people that don’t know Jesus, may you work in their heart so that they can know the way, the truth and the life. We also pray that we can play a role in making Jesus known to the people who don’t know him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
Mick Lather- Living Church Creek Road