September 28, 2012
Scripture:  Luke 11:5-8 (NLT)

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, [6] ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ [7] And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ [8] But I tell you this-though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

Observations:  I can’t read this and not come away with the sense that I am to “pray long.” If I just am obnoxious and annoying and demanding and never, ever quit, God will finally do what I want. Is that what this means? Prayer is simply annoying the hell out of God (so to speak)?
Application:  I suspect not. Prayer is more like exercise, where long-term action produces amazing results, while being a weekend warrior may be fun but sometimes painful. Eugene Peterson uses the phrase, “long obedience in the same direction.” Doing the right thing over and over and over again must produce positive results. So, prayer changes me, at the very least. Something about the knocking and asking and shameless persistence makes me more like Jesus.
     Yet, it also produces bread. God is the friend who answers and gives in response to our request for help. Why does he wait? Why do some answers take so long? Why do some answers (at least the ones I want) never come? In part, our world is broken by sin and some things will never work right until God finally makes all things new. At the same time, some things are shrouded in the mystery of God’s ultimate will. (see my post on The Will of God which I haven’t written yet, but will.  Soon.) while I can’t claim to be completely comfortable with that, I turn to see Jesus at the stern of the boat, even while it rocks in the violent storm, and I know that it is in Him that my trust lies.
Prayer:  Lord, I am not completely comfortable with what I see – my little boat rocking violently in the storm, while you lie asleep in the stern. But, I know that my trust lies in you. You, who stilled the storm before, will, I trust, do it again. Help me knock on your door when midnight comes. Help me knock long and hard, for I need Bread. In the name of Jesus I pray.

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