Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all. ~D.L. Moody
per·se·vere → continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.
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, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 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’? 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 11:5-8 ESV)
Until recently, I never adequately understood the meaning of this parable of Jesus. I would always be left wondering why this man's "friend" didn't just get his butt out of bed for a couple of minutes and give him a few loaves of bread - what was the big deal? And then my thoughts would turn to thoughts of "this guy is NOT your friend!". But I suppose in reading this parable more accurately, or more how it was intended, it really drives home the point of perseverance. We are meant to see the first part of this parable as a question to be answered by the listener with a resounding NO! As in, "could any of you imagine having a friend who, under these circumstances would refuse to get up and give you, his friend, a few loaves of bread? No, we can't!".
And Jesus goes on, asking that we try to imagine that this friend actually does refuse to get up and give you the bread out of love, respect or obligation to a friend; he will surely at least get up to give you the bread because of your bold persistence.
The timing of this parable in Luke just after Jesus instructs us on how to pray by giving us "The Lord's Prayer", as well as verses 9-13 which immediately follow the parable, drive home the point that we are to be persistent in our prayers to the Father. While we may not always get the answer to prayer that we are seeking, oftentimes what we receive is so much better than what we initially sought! And on those occasions where we lack hope and do not see our prayers being answered, Jesus calls on us to remain vigilant in prayer and to continually rely on God to meet our needs (Phil 4:19, 1 Jn 5:14-15, Is 40:28-31, Ps 55:22).
"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. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
(Luke 11:9-13 ESV)
Article originally posted at Fall And Die Blog: http://fallanddie.com/the-friend-at-night-prayer-perseverance/