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THREE FRIENDS AT
Jesus had been praying for He was a man of prayer, and His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Jesus gave them a sample and model prayer, which is known as The Disciple's Prayer (SEE TEXT). He then gave them a representation by way of a parable showing boldness and persistence in prayer.
Luke 11:5-8 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs".
The Visiting Friend travelled by night to escape the heat of the day to his friend's house where he knew food and shelter would be offered. The travelling friend to feed can be likened to the unsaved.
The Persistent Friend. With the late arrival of the traveller, his friend retired for the evening, had left bread prepared to be baked the next day. To have no food for a friend was a reproach to his hospitality, and was ashamed that he was unable to feed his hungry guest. Just as the traveller knocked at his door, he knocked at his friend's door with freedom from bashfulness. The persistent friend in need can be likened to the believer.
The Sleeping Friend. The unwilling friend was awakened by the friend who had been aroused by the traveller. Not being impressed by the late hour, he gave a refusal to the request for bread, but the friend at the door continued to plead. The consistent banging interrupted sleep for the whole family, so he got out of bed and gave the bread to his friend.
The friend persisted in his need for the possession of three loaves of bread to provide a meal of hospitality. The friend in need kept knocking until the request was answered. His request was not met because of friendship, but because of his boldness and unrelenting persistency.
The consistent and unwavering friend who sought bread for his travelling friend continued in ever-increasing earnestness, and believers are not to grow weary in presenting requests to God who willingly and gladly gives because of His love, and not because He gets fed up with repeated calls. Just as boldness pays off in human affairs at the most inconvenient times, so too boldness will secure spiritual matters as well with God The Father, who is much more generous and approachable.
God can be depended upon and to be sought, and not just in times of need. To have boldness and confidence should not be a hindrance in petitioning God, for all are confident and bold when in need to ask of a neighbour or friend. Believers can go to God, their Father, just as confident and expectant as they do friends.
The point of the parable is when in prayer, to be straight-forward and in earnest, for if a human friend begrudgingly satisfies a nuisance, how much more a loving God who delights to hear and wants to give? The Bible frequently records God The Father's eagerness to grant requests. Jesus teaches to pray courageously with no fear, for God will answer graciously. The parable does not suggest that prayers only get answered if the petitioner is persistent. The persistence of prayer is for the benefit of believers themselves not for God. It teaches believers should not grow weary in their prayer life, or get discouraged.
Disciples are to pray with unreasonable stubbornness until the prayer is answered. Jesus assures His disciples God is willing to answer the petitions of His children, even when asking is left to the last hour because He was not thought of first.
Jesus did not suggest that believers are to overcome God's reluctance to respond to their request. Jesus gives assurance of answered prayer.
Sometimes God The Father answers the request made immediately and in other cases after prolonged asking. A 'no' answer would be that the time is not right for the petitioner's best interest. If the prayer is not answered the lesson teaches to be insistent and continue to pray.
God will prevail with mankind, ready to do good, much more than friends are to each other. Believers can go before God on behalf of the need of others as well as themselves. A petitioning prayer life is to be steady, diligent, continuous and supported with determination.
It is noticeable that bread be asked for, that which is needed by all, physically and especially spiritually. Jesus said He was The Bread of Life who came down from Heaven, and believers are to feed on the Word of God. The bread in the parable of which Jesus taught was needed for a friend.
The friend who had the bread can be likened to Jesus, the Saviour of sinners who is the Bread from Heaven.
Luke 11:9-13 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
The spiritual lesson and the application is ask, seek and knock for spiritual gifts and they shall be given. Knocking is not a timid tapping. Jesus urges boldness to ask, to see, and keep knocking for every one who asks receives. Those who seek shall find, all who knock, it is opened unto them.
God promises that when His people pray, He will not only give what is asked but in many cases something better. It is clear to address God as Heavenly Father, and the direction Jesus gives to pray are the gifts of The Holy Spirit, for He is the worker of a spiritual life. It is significant and necessary to ask for the gifts of The Holy Spirit, for His power to be poured upon His people, in their service for Christ. As the Holy Spirit directs a believer's heart they will desire those things which benefit them spiritually.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray for continual refreshings and gifts from The Holy Spirit. Jesus instructed them on importunity and perseverance, to be shamelessness and unrelenting, obstinate and unwavering in prayer.
The parable is true to life. God is a householder who is willing to give more than we are willing to receive, for so much more shall God meet the needs of His own. God has promised to give what is asked of Him.
Jesus gives assurance that God will provide both spiritual and material needs.
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