“…yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”
– Luke 11:8
Those of us who have a relationship with the Father must remember when we pray, it is His name that is at stake. Jesus’ illustration of the man that came shamelessly in the middle of the night to his friend demonstrates this truth clearly. Hospitality towards strangers was a fundamental law in Jesus’ time. If a person refused to entertain and provide for a guest, it brought disgrace to the entire family. This was a model that Abraham displayed in the Old Testament, and it was still practiced at the time of Luke’s writing. The friend that got up and met the need of this man had promised in his heart he would, and his name was on the line.
Can I or anyone change God’s mind? No, he changes our minds! Importunity in prayer means I come to the Lord at any time and for any need unceasingly and without hesitation. In that approach, my heart is conformed into His will and His desires. Any Christian can do this when there is a relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In applying Jesus’ illustration of prayer, we must be careful to avoid certain conclusions. God is not annoyed by our persistent requests, and the Lord is not suggesting that the only way to get what we want is to continue to bug Him about it. If we take this approach, then the example Jesus gives through Luke is that God is a grumpy old man who does not want to get up and answer my requests. That is not the Lord’s character at all!
The Messiah’s story is coming from a lesser position to a higher position. If a sinful man is willing to get up in the middle of the night to help a persistent friend because of His reputation, how much more is our heavenly Father ready to answer our prayers and glorify His name? And what prayers will He answer? Those that are asked according to His will because there is a relationship with the petitioner. Do you have a relationship with God through Jesus? If so, are you praying according to His will or merely those things you think will bring you pleasure? When God answers, remember to give Him the glory!
“Every act of faith must rest on the promise of God. If we know that it is God’s will to remove a certain difficulty, then we can pray with utter confidence that it will be done. In fact, we can pray with confidence on any subject as long as we are confident it is according to God’s will as revealed in the Bible or by the inner witness of the Spirit. When we are really living in touch with the Lord and praying in the Spirit, we can have the assurance of answered prayer before the answer actually comes.”
– William MacDonald