This chapter begins with one of the many occasions when the gospel writers record that Jesus was praying. When he had finished, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray “as John taught his disciples.” The example Jesus then gave them was an abbreviated version of what we have come to know as “the Lord’s Prayer,” found in Matthew 6:9-13. This is, however, a different occasion and a slightly different prayer. It is not a commandment to pray by rote, any more than that prayer in the famous Sermon on the Mount. But it does serve as a model for making reverent supplication.
The example that Jesus gives of the persistent neighbor knocking on the man’s door at midnight often leads people to the conclusion that we sometimes have to just keep “bugging” God in prayer, and finally he will give in and let us have what we want. But is that really what Jesus is telling us here? Please do not misunderstand. We are not saying that there is no value in persistent prayer. A good case can be made for the opposite, in fact, by reading the parable in Luke 18:1-8 and other passages such as Colossians 4:2, and Psalm 88:1.
But let’s look at the context of this passage. Jesus has just given an example of how to pray to our heavenly Father. Then he asks the people which of them has a friend that they would go to in the middle of the night for food for a traveling friend. Keep in mind that most families would be sleeping in the same room of a house in those times. What an inconvenience – especially for those with small children! The friend might very well call out for them to go away, but may give in – not out of friendship, but because of persistence. The friend may want to give them what they need to make them go away.
But the relationship we have with God is not like that of a friend. It is more like a father. God wants to give His children good gifts – especially those of the Holy Spirit. That does not mean that He will give us anything we ask for. God is too wise for that. He knows what our needs are, and He will give us what we need. Sometimes that may be different from what we think that we want, however. A father whose child asks for an egg will not give him a scorpion, the text says. God knows how to give us gifts according to our needs. What He gives us, even if different from what we ask for, will be what we need.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.