Luke 11:5-8 (ESV)
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
Continuing with stories about dogs that have a lesson for each of us I found this one about being persistent.
Having assembled my usual cup of tea, Bible, paper, and pen, I finally sat down to write. I had just gotten comfortable to pray, read the Scriptures, and begin another chapter, when I heard a sound outside the front door. A small woof drifted to my ears from our front porch. Having just begun a new story, I ignored Joy’s soft bark and kept writing. It wasn’t long before I heard it again. “Woof,” she barked, this time a little louder. I was in the middle of a stream of writing, and it was a beautiful day outside, so I continued to write. I tend to get in the flow of my writing and tune out the world around me. I was on a roll, writing a new devotion, and I wanted to stay in the stream of thought.
In a couple of minutes, I heard a louder, more insistent woof from outside the front door. Joy was persisting in her request to come back inside our house. I knew she wasn’t going to give up and take a nap on the front porch, as I’d hoped, so I got up and let her in. She happily trotted into the house, stationing herself on the back of the couch for her afternoon nap. I went back to writing and all was well. I completed the project despite the interruption. It wasn’t long, though, before my mind turned back to Joy’s increasingly insistent woofs outside the front door. As I read my Bible and prayed, I thought about her woof, woof, woof as a model for prayer. Let me explain.
I was reading Luke 11, where Jesus taught His disciples about prayer. First, He gave them a pattern to use in the Lord’s Prayer, and then He taught them about the importance of persistence through the parable of the persistent friend, found in Luke 11:5–8. There Jesus likened His heavenly Father to a man who’s just gotten himself and his family tucked into bed for the night after a long, tiring day. Any parent with young children knows that this can be quite an accomplishment, particularly in close quarters.
Suddenly at midnight the homeowner’s sleep is disturbed by a knock on the door by a friend in need. Reluctant to disturb his family and get out of bed, thereby waking his whole household, he refuses the request. However, the friend persists in his request, ultimately succeeding in his pursuit of assistance from the homeowner. Jesus uses the story to teach us that prayer is not a passive or singular exercise. He encourages believers, through this and other parables, to persist on the stubborn points in prayer.
Don’t get me wrong. God is not unwilling to answer His children’s pleas. However, the nature of this present age and the reality of spiritual warfare in the fallen world we live in necessitate faith-filled, persistent prayer. Jesus knew that, of course, which is why He gave us this parable. Like the persistent friend in Jesus’ parable and my insistent dog outside my front door that day, believers who persist in their faith-filled prayers are sure to get an answer in line with God’s will.