Pray Like a Nag and Pray Like a Friend
Luke 11:5 ¶ And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,
Luke 11:6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
Luke 11:7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?
Luke 11:8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
Luke 11:9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
This comes right after Jesus teaches the disciples ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ but that is NOT the right way to look at it. This is part of Jesus’ teaching on prayer. The disciples asked explicitly “teach us how to pray” and this is what Jesus said.
He is trying to help us not in our method (like pray the Lord’s Prayer every day) but in our faith. When we pray, we can pray like the guy asking his neighbor for bread for a visitor. This is a lot more intense than we think nowadays with a convenience store every 2 miles. Bread takes time, as does any food prep in the ancient world. If you don’t have anything and a hungry traveler arrives, it’s your honor and the honor of your whole city on the line. WAKE UP AND GIVE ME SOME BREAD!!!!
When we pray, we already believe something will change because we are praying. It’s ok to feel unsure or doubt when we pray; plenty of people felt that way when they talked to Jesus face to face! But we don’t have to doubt. If we feel like we’re asking for the wrong thing, spend more time with God in prayer. If we feel like He doesn’t like us and doesn’t want to answer us, read what Jesus said and then pray some more.
He wants to interact in our lives and do stuff. He wants to increase our faith by answering our requests for help and by teaching us to ask for the right kind of help that we really need.
Prayer is not wishing on stars or meditating on nothing to clear our stress. Prayer is an interactive relationship with the triune God to be shaped by our friendship into His favorite, loving, wise scenario for us. Even as our circumstances change, He doesn’t. He still loves us so much no matter our situation.
So we keep asking and we keep knocking and we watch to see what He does. It’s a friendship, so the goal isn’t a finish line, but an ongoing conversation during the race.