Devotional: February 17, 2022
And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”7And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
Luke 11: 5-8 NRSV
I do not like being awakened in the middle of the night. Most people do not. Yet it has happened to me occasionally. When I was serving the Presbyterian church in Ellensburg, I received a call in the middle of the night that a member of the congregation was in the emergency room. She wanted to have a pastor from our church come pray with her.
I drove over to the hospital, and found her thankfully doing well. The medical personnel were running some tests, and she was sitting calmly in the hospital bed. She was not frantic, but she did need someone to pray with her. After visiting with her, we prayed together. She was so thankful that I had come over to the hospital to be with her, and to pray with her-especially since it was the middle of the night.
Here, Jesus is teaching his disciples about perseverance in prayer. He gives the example of someone who is desperate for bread waking his friend up in the middle of the night. The friend wants nothing better than to sleep. Although the friend might initially balk at fetching bread at midnight, he did acquiesce. Why? He knew that the quickest way to end this situation was to get up and give the requested bread. Otherwise, the friend would just keep asking, and asking, and asking...
There is always a danger with parables like this one. This story could be misread to infer that Jesus is annoyed when we ask him for our needs, or that he only likes to answer our prayer requests during business hours. Nothing could be further from the truth!
In actuality, Jesus is never annoyed when we pray to him, and he is always available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Jesus is never annoyed when we pray to him. Just the opposite! He is always ready to hear our prayers. We never have to worry about waking up Jesus. His door is never closed. He is there 24 hours a day. Jesus is not only ready, He wants to open the door. Revelation 3:20 states, “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you” (The Message)
Jesus tells us this parable to reassure us. To put it another way: if even your tired friend is willing to get bread for you in the middle of the night, motivated simply by a desire to get back to bed, imagine how Jesus is going to respond to your prayer request! He is already at the door, waiting for you to knock.
Patient of loving Lord,
Thank you for reminding me that you are never preoccupied with things which seem more important than me. Forgive me when I doubt You, and see myself as unimportant. Remind me that You are not frustrated with me for coming to You. You desire that I pray often for what I need. Help me to be more faithful and persistent in my prayers to You. May I also be more faithful in helping and meeting the needs of others, even when it is not convenient for me. I praise You, for Your door is always open! I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.