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; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 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.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity (persistence) he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
The passage before us has much truth to teach us on many levels. That being said, we will focus on the main point of Jesus’ illustration of the friend at midnight. The main truth here is determination. The meaning of the Greek word “anaideian” often translated “persistence” in verse 8, carries with it the idea of “shamelessness.” Knowing the meaning of this word is key to understanding the main point of this parable. Some will ask; who was shameless? the one asking for bread, or the one being awakened? The context of Luke 11 is prayer, so it is the one who’s asking.
Once again, it is verse eight that yields a most revealing truth about prayer. Jesus refers to the one who was asking for bread as a friend to the one he was seeking help from. In the same way, friendship with God is the basis for such confident persistence with Him.
Approaching God with confidence because of the loving Father He is, goes a long way in assuring us that our requests will be granted. The Scriptures are filled with promises that show God desires to provide all our needs. Here Jesus is encouraging the Father’s family to come to Him for the needs of others as well. He wants us to prevail in prayer for others.
Wesley L Duewel has written: “Prevailing prayer is God’s ordained means for extending His kingdom, for defeating Satan and his empire of darkness and evil, and for fulfilling God’s eternal plan and bringing into effect His good will on earth. It is God’s means of covering the earth with His blessings. Prevailing prayer is God’s priority strategy for our age and dispensation.”*
Never underestimate the power of persistent praying in receiving answers for others. We the Church have been chosen by God to partner with Him in His kingdom business of world redemption. Ours is a high calling and a privileged position of intercession.
Our families, friends, and communities need to know that God’s presence and power are upon us for their good. Nothing short of our persistent faith-filled prayers for them will bring God’s answers. What greater proof can demonstrate God’s love for those who come to us in their time of need than His answers to our prayers for them?
Being God’s sons and daughters, and He as our friend at midnight, doesn’t get is what we came for, but persistence will. So, in your prayers for others, Be confident of receiving an answer, Be persistent, and Be encouraged! -JSP
* Mighty Prevailing prayer by Wesley L Duewel (Zondervan Publishing House, 1990) 13