LUKE 11:8: “I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever wondered why it seems like God is not answering your prayers? You pray and pray and your situation does not seem to change. Weary, you are tempted to give up and accept defeat. If there is anything we can learn about prayer from Jesus, it is – never quit praying!
Have you ever envied someone who seemed like their prayers were always answered? This is no doubt how the apostles felt when they compared their prayer life to Jesus’ prayer life. They wanted to experience the same blessing of answered prayer that they witnessed in Jesus’ life. So they asked,
- “…Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1b NKJV
Jesus responded with two teachings. The first was Jesus’ model of prayer that we call The Lord’s Prayer. The second was the call to be persistent in prayer. To illustrate this point Jesus used a very simple and ordinary example.
- “And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” Luke 11:5-8 NKJV
Jesus uses a persistent, pestering friend, as an example of prayer. He made it clear that it was not his position as a friend that brought about the answer he needed, it was his persistence. From this example Jesus then tells His disciples,
- “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. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NKJV
In the original Greek this would be translated – “…ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking…”. And, Jesus gives us this promise – “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
If this is true – then why aren’t my prayers being answered?
Perhaps it is because we are expecting the wrong answer. Let me explain. If I am going through financial difficulty, and I commit it to prayer, I am usually looking for some kind of financial provision to come my way to solve my problem. Perhaps the answer is found somewhere else. Rather than money, perhaps I need to know how to manage my money better. Or, perhaps the Lord is trying to direct me to a new place of employment.
The bottom line is – we are usually looking for a specific answer rather than God’s provision. When the specific answer does not come we lose hope. We need to change our focus in our prayer life. Jesus gives us the key in the remainder of this section of teaching.
- “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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!” Luke 11:11-13 NKJV
God answers every prayer we pray. How does He do that? He gives us the Holy Spirit! Think about this. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us and guides us into all truth. It is the Holy Spirit who is the agent of all the spiritual gifts to bring God’s provision to our life in our time of need. It is the Holy Spirit that regenerates our hearts through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who indwells us with the very presence of God. He is our pillar of fire by night and our cloud by day. He is the Father’s answer to our prayer in Jesus Name!
When you understand this it brings perspective and hope! We will not grow discouraged because the answer we pinned our hopes on did not come in the way or the time that we expected. We know that our Heavenly Father will always answer our prayer and that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in our hearts through faith. He will lead us, He will open the doors of opportunity, He will administer the gifts of God in our lives! It is through the Holy Spirit that the words of Jesus are fulfilled.
- “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV
No matter what I am facing – Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me. When I come to the Father in Jesus Name – He will always hear my prayer. And, He will pour out His Holy Spirit upon my life to lead me to the answer and provision that He has destined for my life. My constant asking, seeking, knocking – is to stay in step with the Holy Spirit as the Lord leads me to His answer. I can pray with confidence and with persistence as I understand this truth!
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have felt like You were not answering my prayers. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in my life. Help me to develop a sensitive heart, a hearing ear, and an obedient spirit. Today, as I am asking, seeking, and knocking, may I rejoice in the assurance that Your Holy Spirit is active in my life – leading me to Your answer, in Your time!
- “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:10 NKJV
In Jesus Name!