Jesus also 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 of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” Luke 11:5-8
This parable has been an ongoing reminder in my daily life. I am currently waiting on the completion of an enormous, seemingly impossible miracle (praise God that nothing is impossible with Him!). I have seen God answer my desperate prayers but I am still crying out for Him to do more in our situation. I have clung to this teaching this past year as a source of strength and motivation. Keep praying. Don’t give up. Keep praying. I have reminded God over and over saying, “Don’t worry, God, I can be that annoying neighbour you taught about. If persistence is what it takes, well I can do that! You just watch!”. Oh, how He must shake His head at me (hopefully humorously)!
Lately God has been teaching me a lot about prayer – my role in prayer, how He values prayer, what it can do to impact situations, and more. I’ve wrestled my way through some of these lessons. I’ve had to try to reconcile the teaching of “persistent prayer leading to the answer” with other teachings in scripture that remind us that God has greater plans than we can comprehend; that He may handle situations differently than we anticipate, for our good and His glory.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
I am so thankful that can we “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Hebrews 4:16). What a wonderful, gracious, loving, and just God we serve. He is GOD. He knows my needs before I even ask them. He also knows the best answer and the best time for that answer. A dear pastor reminded me once that my miracle is not just MY miracle. God is weaving together a beautiful tapestry and using our lives, our experiences and His Hand to create something amazing; something that will have greater impact than we ever could in our own strength or understanding.
Jesus is telling us, in this parable, to persist in prayer. He is pleading with us not to give up. He is encouraging us to keep coming and asking. Prayer changes things! Jesus knows the power of prayer and wants us to know it too! He also knows another awesome consequence of prayer. He knows that the more we pray, the more time we spend in the wondrous presence of our breathtaking God, the more we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives…the more we become like Jesus. It’s an unavoidable side effect! He knows that the more we take on His character, the more our desires and prayers will align with God’s desires and plans – perfect plans that will bless His children and bring the lost to find Him.
On this journey, I am discovering this beautiful dynamic of prayer. God wants us to persist and continue to pray. He tells us not to give up but to keep bringing our requests! I believe that we have a responsibility to pray with fervency, to bring all of our needs to our Lord. He also promises that as we do, He will transform our hearts to be more like Him. In that transformation there is peace, joy, strength and hope. He performs miracles around us, He really does, and prayer plays a pivotal role in that. He also wants to do miracles WITHIN us. The biggest miracles He will ever do come from a complete transformation of our hearts to be more like Him. That miracle will have ripple effects into eternity. I encourage you to join me on this journey. Spend regular time every day with Jesus. He will not disappoint you, my friend. He will amaze you.
I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. Ezekiel 36:26
Love and Blessings,