I can remember back to when I was but a young lad, and as kids tend to do, I would nag my parents about getting something that I really, really wanted. It may have been something as silly as a candy bar or ice cream, or it may have been something that was important at the time, like a new skateboard or whatever the case may have been. I was good at the craft of persuasion. I was good at working the crowd, my parents as it were, knowing how to pin one against the other until I was able to get something I so desired. Sometimes it would be an epic fail, being reminded of how many things I already had, or how another round of ice cream was unhealthy. Sometimes, I would have to wait until dad got home from work, or we would have to “wait and see”, which usually was another way of saying no. But often, because my parents didn’t want to disappoint, I would ultimately prevail. What probably made it worse for my parents is that my two brothers and I would gang up on them and make it nearly impossible to deny us.
In this passage, we hear about a man who goes to a neighbor asking for bread to feed another friend of his who dropped on his doorstep. But he isn’t making this request for bread at 9 a.m., noon, or dinner time. He is making the request at MIDNIGHT! I’m sorry, but I would be a little annoyed with my neighbor if he came over at midnight, ringing the doorbell, waking the dog and the baby, just to ask for bread, not because he was hungry, but because a friend of his who stopped by was hungry. But the man is insistent and won’t leave his buddy alone. Finally, his persistence pays off, and he prevails.
Jesus relates this to how we should pray to our Father. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened. But don’t do it just once in a while, only on Sundays, or on Christmas and Easter. Persistently ask God for what you NEED. So there are a couple of important things here in my mind. We need to pray often, and not feel rejected if our prayers aren’t answered immediately, or as quickly as we would like. We should continue to pray. If our buddy next door would finally give us a loaf of bread at midnight just to shut us up, how much more would God, who loves us more than we will ever understand, give us. But these prayers should be filled with our needs, and not our wants. I don’t think God is going to be in a big hurry to grant us a fancy sports car, winning the lottery or a close parking spot at the mall on a cold day. But He will listen to us and grant us what He feels we need. Remember what we have heard on this blog and in recent sermons; not our will, but His.
Can we be patient enough to wait for Him to give us what we need? Can we be honest enough to ask for only what we need and not what we want? It is my prayer that the answer to both of these questions is YES.