Shameless Persistence

Tempted to quit praying? Don’t!

“But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” (Luke 11:8)

Right after Jesus shared the Lord’s Prayer with his disciples, he followed up with a story teaching them more about prayer.

Jesus told of a man who went to a friend’s house at midnight and asked to borrow three loaves of bread because he had an unexpected visitor and had no bread to offer him. This was a serious problem. The honor of the man with the visitorthe honor of the entire villagerequired bread to be offered to the guest.

In spite of the urgent need, the friend hollered, “Leave me alone! We’re all in bed!”

Jesus knew his audience would be appalled at the friend’s answer. Regardless of the time of day, hospitality must be extended. The neighbor wouldn’t bring shame upon the man, himself, and their village by refusing to get up and get bread.

Jesus said if the friend wouldn’t get up and give the man bread because of their friendship, he would do it if the man was shamelessly persistent.

If a worldly, human friend would eventually answer the man’s request for bread, how much more will God answer our requests when we pray?

Because God loves us, we can feel confident praying about any need, any time, as often as we wish. We don’t need to think we are annoying God, or that God gets tired of hearing our petitions. On the contrary, God is never asleep, never without resources, and always listening to our prayers.

Luke 11:9 says, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” The answer we are seeking may not arrive on our preferred schedule, but it will arrive. While we wait, we are encouraged to keep bringing our needs to our Father in heaven, with persistence and without shame. Persistence in prayer is the result of having faith in the love and goodness of our Father.

Jesus finishes his teaching on prayer with this question: “You fathers—if your children ask you for a fish, do you give them a snake? If they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? (Luke 11:11).

Of course, we wouldn’t. We give our children the best food we can when they’re hungry. When they’re sad, we wrap our arms around them, and when they’re hurt, we bandage their wounds. And sometimes, if they ask us for a scorpion, we say no and give them an egg instead, because one will destroy them and the other will nourish them. How much more will our heavenly Father do the same for us?

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and forgiving me. Thank you for hearing me when I pray and loving me enough to give me the answer that is best for my life. Help me be shamelessly persistent in prayer. Build my faith daily. Make me more and more like you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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