What on Earth have we done with the Teachings of Jesus?
Jesus often spoke in parables. Earthly stories with deep heavenly meanings. There are those in the world who are like lost sheep. Those who need to be restored back to the fold. As Jesus told these few parables, He spoke in the presence of the religious leaders of the day – the Pharisees. They, like many religious leaders today, thought they had the monopoly on the grace of God and believed their place was secure in heaven. But Jesus came to challenge their self-righteous beliefs and call the ones who felt they had been forgotten. The parable of the friend at Midnight.
Bold in Prayer My child, there is no arrogance In your assertion when you say I will not let you go Unless you bless me today. I have told you always to claim big things In so doing you obey Me You do right to wrestle boldly in prayer Until things come to be. There are times for demanding, times for claiming Now is the time to claim. Do not be in doubt about My will Use My glorious Name. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
The Parable of the Friend at Midnight
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Yet He learned this obedience
Henry says – Prayer is one of the great laws of natural faith. One great design of Christ was to assist us in prayer and instruct us in it. He encouraged us to expect a great advantage by it. At the beginning of this Chapter Christ was praying in a certain place, probably where He used to pray, Luke 11:1. As God, He was prayed to, but as man, He prayed and though He was a Son, yet He learned this obedience.
His disciples asked Him for direction in prayer. When he was praying, they asked, Lord, teach us to pray. What followed was the Lord’s prayer in providing a guideline for how they ought to pray. Through this Christ taught us that we ought to come to God as children to a Father, a common Father to us and all mankind. Let us come to Him with a humble boldness, confiding in His power and goodness in all our requests for others and for ourselves.
In all our devotions let us look heavenward with an eye of faith and view the God we pray to as our Father in heaven. We ought to make the upper world more familiar to us and so become better prepared for that future state. In prayer, as well as in the general mood of our lives, we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In so doing we ascribe honour to His holy name, and power to His government.
He continues knocking
Then Christ gave this parable, Luke 11:5-8. Suppose a man, upon a sudden emergency, goes to borrow a loaf or two of bread from a neighbour. It is in the middle of the night and was for his friend who had come unexpectedly. His neighbour will be loathed to open the door for he has wakened him and put him in a bad mood. He explains that the door is shut and locked, his children are asleep in bed and if he make a noise, he shall disturb them. His servants are asleep and if he were to get up he would catch a cold.
But his neighbour will not take no for an answer and therefore continues knocking. He says that he will keep knocking until he has what he has come for. So that neighbour must give it to him in order to be rid of him. He will rise up, and give him as many as he needs, because of his persistence. He speaks in this parable with the same intent that he speaks of in Luke 18:1: That men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Not that God can be wrought upon by persistence. We cannot be troublesome to Him, nor by being so change His counsels. We prevail with men through persistence because they are displeased with it, but we prevail with God because He is pleased with it.
This directs us in prayer. We must come to God with boldness and confidence for what we need as a man does to the house of his friend. The one who he knows, who loves him, and is inclined to be kind to him. We must come for bread, for that which is needful, and which we cannot be without. We must come to Him by prayer for others as well as for ourselves.
He is willing to do good to us
This man did not come for bread for himself, but for his friend. The Lord accepted Job, when he prayed for his friends, Job 42:10. We cannot come to God upon a more pleasing errand than when we come to Him for grace to enable us to do good, to feed many with our lips, to entertain and edify those who come to us.
We may come with more boldness to God in a difficulty. Especially if it be a dilema that we have not brought ourselves into by our own carelessness, but that which we have been led into. This man would not have wanted bread if his friend had not come in unexpectedly. Whatever cares Providence casts upon us, we may with cheerfulness cast back upon Providence. We ought to continue incessantly in prayer and watch for an answer with all perseverance.
This parable was to encourage us in prayer. If persistence could prevail with a man who was angry at it, much more with a God who is infinitely more kind and ready to do good to us. He is willing to do good to us far more than we are to one another, and is not angry at our perseverance, but accepts it, especially when it is for spiritual mercies. If He does not answer our prayers immediately He will in due time, if we continue to pray.
God has promised to give us what we ask of Him. We not only have the goodness of nature to take comfort from, but the Word which He has spoken. (Luke 11:9, 10): “Ask, and it shall be given to you. Either the thing itself you shall ask or that which is equivalent, either the thorn in the flesh removed, or the grace sufficient to cope.” We had this before, Matt. 7:7, 8. I say unto you. We have it from Christ’s own mouth, who knows His Father’s mind. In Him all promises are yes and amen.
This poor man cried
We must not only ask, but we must seek. In asking and seeking, we must continue pressing in, still knocking at the same door, and we shall at length prevail. Not only by our prayers in concert with others, but by our particular prayers. Everyone who asks receives, even the meanest saint who asks in faith. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, Ps. 34:6. Christ directed us to pray that the Father’s name be sanctified, that His kingdom may come, and His will be done. In these requests we must be persistent and never hold our peace day or night. We must not keep silent, nor give God any rest, until He establishes it and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth, Isa. 62:6, 7.
He gives us instruction and encouragement in prayer from the consideration of our relation to God as a Father. In this there is an appeal to earthly fathers: “Let any of you that is a father, and knows the heart of a father. A father that has affection for a child and cares for a child, tell me, if his son ask for bread for his breakfast, will he give him a stone to eat? If he asks for a fish for his dinner, will he give him a serpent that will poison and sting him? Or, if he shall ask for an egg for his supper, will he offer him a scorpion? You know you could not be so unnatural to your own children,” Luke 11:11, 12.
(Luke 11:13): If you then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall God give you the Spirit. He shall give good things. In this He gives the direction in what to pray for. We must ask for the Holy Spirit as a necessity in order to our praying well. There is nothing more that we need to make us happy, for the Spirit is the worker of spiritual life. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift that we are to constantly pray for.
The Spirit is the Author of the life of the soul
Christ then gives us encouragement to hope that we shall have an answer in this prayer: Your heavenly Father will give it. It is in His power to give the Spirit, He has all good things to bestow, wrapped up in that one. But that is not all, it is in His promise, the gift of the Holy Ghost is in the covenant, Acts 2:33, 38. It is inferred here from a proper parents’ readiness to supply their children’s needs and gratify their desires.
If the child ask for a serpent, or a scorpion, the father in kindness will deny him, but will not deny those things that are needful, and will be nourishing. When God’s children ask for the Spirit, they are asking for bread for the Spirit is the Author of the life of the soul. If our earthly parents, though evil, can be so kind, if they, though weak can give with discretion what is best how much more will our heavenly Father. He infinitely excels the fathers of our flesh both in wisdom and goodness. He will give us His Holy Spirit.
Earthly parents are willing to lay out for the education of their children, to whom they design to leave their estates. How much more will our heavenly Father give the Spirit to all those whom He has predestined to the inheritance.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. May I, like Christ, learn this obedience in prayer. Compel me to come to You with a humble boldness, confiding in Your power and goodness in all my requests for others and for myself.
In all my devotions may I look heavenward with an eye of faith and view You as my Father in heaven. Help me make the upper world more familiar to me and so become better prepared for that future state. In prayer, as well as in the general mood of my life, help me to seek first You and Your righteousness. In so doing I will ascribe honour to Your holy name, and power to Your government.
Remind to me to come to You with boldness and confidence for what I need. May I promptly come with more boldness to You in all my difficulties. I know that whatever cares are cast upon me I may with cheerfulness cast them back upon You. Help me to continue incessantly in prayer and watch for an answer with all perseverance.
May Your name be sanctified, Your kingdom come and Your will be done. I know there is nothing more that I need to make me happy than the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit is the worker of spiritual life. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift that I am reminded to constantly pray for. In so doing I ask for bread, for the Spirit is the Author of the soul’s life. I ask these things that I may be a better servant of you. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.