Luke 11:5-13 – “Then He said to them, ” Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 ” If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” NASB
I was recently chided for my continuing efforts in praying for my wife’s healing. I was told that once I had prayed that was it and I should only rejoice and confess in thanksgiving the healing an no longer petition for the same thing. However, as I study the written record of God, I find occasions that Jesus and others in the Bible used and taught persistent petition before the Father for a need.
In this passage, we find one of those occasions taught by our Lord. The imagery of persistent requests to the friend at midnight suggests a dogged determination in prayer that says as Jacob, “I won’t let go until you bless me.” Then Jesus’ words suggest persistence and the stages or phases of petition. First, there is asking, then seeking, then knocking (or pounding on the door).
I have had times when I prayed and I knew immediately that it was done. I had a deep settled peace in my spirit, and went from that moment rejoicing although I did not see the fruit of my prayers, I knew my prayer had been answered. There have been other times that I had to fight through whatever it was that was hindering and press through until I knew the answer was on the way.
Then there have been times, as now, when I have prayed repeatedly and fervently for months and years and sense that there is something blocking the prayers and the answer. I recall Daniel when Gabriel came to him and the angel told him, “We heard you on the first day, but the Prince of Persia hindered.”
I also am reminded of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 when praying for rain the servant reported that he saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand and that was the trigger that allowed Elijah to rejoice, but he had persisted. I know from 1 John 5:14-15 – “This is the confidence which we have before Him that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
So, if you pray and immediately your heart tells you the answer is on the way, rejoice in your faith, and no need to continue the petition. If you pray, and there seems to be a blockage in the line or heaven is covered with brass, keep pressing in until you have the assurance the answer is on the way. Don’t be afraid to continue to pray and don’t allow yourself to be shamed into thinking that it is a flaw in your faith because of the need for persistence!
The key is knowing that God has promised to never leave us, nor forsake us and has encouraged us to come boldly before the throne and ask what we will of Him because He loves us and cares for us. Satan does not want you to receive your answer so you may find yourself doing spiritual battle poking a hole through his veil to see the open window of Heaven.
Blessings as you go through your day victoriously!