And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Jesus had just answered the request of His disciples to teach them to pray. First, He gives them an example of what to say, but then He tells this story. So what can we learn about prayer from a story about a man needing bread for a friend? First of all, there is a specific need. Then a request is made to meet that need. He goes to one who is called his friend, someone who should have concern for him. He is persistent. He doesn’t give up at that first rejection. And eventually, he receives all that he needs.
So it is for us when we pray. We bring our needs before one who has our best interest at heart, someone we have a relationship with—our heavenly Father, which is really better than a friend. We ask for help from one we know can provide what we need. We don’t stop asking, especially when the need is urgent or desperate. Eventually what we need is provided. There is the certainty of a response. It all depends on the one we are asking.
The man in the story was totally dependent on his friend to give him what he needed. He was counting on his ability to provide. He was counting on his friend’s graciousness and love to give of what he had. He was depending on his friend responding with goodness toward him. But he had to go ask. He had to seek out his friend. He had to knock and keep knocking until his friend got out of bed and gave him the bread. Sometimes we have to be bold in our prayers. We have to be willing to ask. We have to be willing to go before God and stand knocking at the door. Sometimes it takes persistence, not giving up when we know we need what He has to give.
Jesus tells this story to encourage His disciples to approach God their Father in a similar way to how the man approaches his friend. It’s okay to ask Him for what we need, because He promises to supply every one of them. We have the privilege, through Christ, to approach God as our Father, to seek Him out. And sometimes it’s necessary to be diligent and faithful and persistent in asking until the time is right and He will open the door for us.