A Knock at Midnight

 Written by: Damian Chambers | 11/21/2015 4:47:03 AM |

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 (KJV 1900). The disciples had come to note the deep connection between Jesus’ prayer life and the power He had over the enemy.

They longed to not only have a similar prayer life to Jesus, but also to live like Jesus, therefore, they made a request of Him. They requested of Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”. Teach us, how to talk with God; the things we ought to ask God for; what we should depend on Him for; what to keep before God; to have power with God as You do.

The disciples themselves may have become frustrated by the inconsistency in their own faith and prayer life. Therefore, they were asking, Lord, teach us how to be stable in our spiritual life; teach us how to pray so that we will always receive answers to our prayers. We are happy that the disciples made the request, so that we can have the answer today.

“2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”

Jesus, the One who came from heaven; who has access to heaven; who is the Governor of heaven, teaches His disciples how to find access to heaven. He teaches them what heaven is concerned about and how to be in harmony with heaven's purposes. Our number one desire should be to see God's will and purposes be accomplished.

But, Jesus knew, that having the mechanics of prayer correct does not guarantee that our prayers will always be answered in the way and at the time we make requests. In other words, Jesus understood the need for perseverance in prayer; this He wanted to teach His disciples.

So, He gave them this parable about the friend that came at midnight to ask bread of another friend (Luke 11:5-9). Through the parable of the friend that came at midnight, Jesus teaches His disciples the need for importunity or persistence in prayer.

This is a similar parable to the one found in Luke 18:1-8. Jesus’ intention is to encourage His followers not to give up when faced with opposition. Not to give up on the things of God; on the things they are doing right.

The parable this man was asking a friend; yet he did not get through on the basis of friendship, but based on his persistency. The Lord wanted the disciples to know, that though, in prayer they are relating to a Friend; yet the issues involved in the great controversy, will make it necessary at times for them to persevere in prayer

Sometimes, we may pray for God's kingdom to come; we may pray for His will to be done on earth as in heaven; we may pray for our daily bread and it would appear as if we are not getting any answers to our prayer, but Jesus encourages us to be importunate in our prayers. In other words, we ought not to give up. We ought not to be discouraged.

Like the friend that came at midnight, asking for bread for his friend, we ought not to give up when our requests are not granted immediately. We ought not to take it for granted, that because we are asking our Friend, then things will run smoothly. Sometimes, we will need to ask until we receive, seek until we find and knock until the door is opened. Like Daniel (ch. 10), who had the answer to his prayer delayed for three weeks, sometimes we will have to endure such discouraging situation.

You might be wondering, if God is so loving and willing to hear our prayers, why do I need to persevere in prayer? If God is on my side, why does it seem sometimes that I am fighting a battle in prayer?

  1. Firstly, sometimes the fault is with us:
    • Our prayers are not to change God’s mind about something, but to draw us closer to Jesus.
    • “When we make request of Him, He may see that it is necessary for us to search our hearts and repent of sin. Therefore, He takes us through test and trial, He brings us through humiliation, that we may see what hinders the working of His Holy Spirit through us.” Christ Object Lessons, 143
  2. Secondly, according to this book, The Kneeling Christian, 33 – “If there were no devil there would be no difficulty in prayer.
    1. If it was a matter of only us and God prayer would be an easy matter, but because there is a devil, there is need for exercising great faith
    2. There is need for believing and sticking tenaciously to the truth in the face of opposition
    3. When the devil says,
      1. “you are too sinful; God wont pardon you”, there is need for perseveringly claiming the promise of 1 John 1:9
      2. “you have committed the unpardonable sin; God wont hear you” . . . there is need for claiming the promise, Revelation 12:10, 11
    4. When the devil threatens to take away your job if you continue to serve God . . . there is need for perseveringly clinging to the promise, “give us this day our daily bread”.
    5. When you pray for a sick loved one and they do not get better or even die . . . (it may appear that we are dealing with an unjust judge or an unkind friend), but there is need to keep believing the promise – “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4, 5).
    6. Like Job, in Chapter 23:1-10, we need to keep holding on even when it appears that we are cornered by the enemy.
    7. Like Daniel in Chapter 10, we need to keep praying, even when it seems our answers are delayed.
    8. Like Jacob we need to say, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me” when it seems like to sins of our past are going to cut us off from receiving the blessings of the Lord
  3. Sometimes, no matter how much of a friend we are to God, He says “no” to our requests:
    1. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10—Paul’s request was denied
    2. Matthew 26:39—Jesus’ request was denied
    3. David’s son died, inspite of him praying for day

Should we give up on our faith in God or prayer? No. There is need for perseverance. To close the parable in Luke 18, Jesus asked a salient question, "when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (v. 8)In other words, the issues involved in the last days will necessitate so much persistent prayer that God wonders if persons will keep on praying when these issues confront them.

The Lord wants us to know, that the persistent petitioner will have his/her request granted.

In both parables,

  1. the widow got her justice,
  2. and the friend got his bread.

This is the attitude that God wants us to have in approaching Him—let us ask until we receive. “Only those who persevere in prayer will eventually experience victory”.

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