Jesus’ instructions about prayer are not a rote repetition of the Lord’s Prayer, but his instructions are about persistence, relationship, faith and a name.
While witnessing Jesus praying, in luke 11, one of his disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray, as john taught his disciples.” Jesus replies with the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus answers their request, but he doesn’t stop there, He tells them a story.
Jesus says this: a man was awakened in the middle of the night by a friend who needed food for another friend in need. At first the man ignored his friend’s request, but eventually because he was tired of listening to him knock he got up and gave his friend all he needed. He didn’t initially ignore his friend because he didn’t have enough food, or that he didn’t want to give it, he just didn’t want to get up out of bed, but he did because of his friend’s persistence. It wasn’t out of love or even friendship but persistence that got this out of his bed.
When we persist in asking God to meet our needs, not our desires, but our needs, he is not an unrighteous Judge or a sleepy friend. He is God omnipotent. He does not slumber or sleep, he provides for all our needs according to HIS riches. God is rich and longs to give to us the things we need, all that will be good for us and promote his kingdom. James says: “We have not because we ask not, we ask but with wrong motives to spend it on our pleasures.”
The bible is full of evidence of God answering those who ask. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, the prophets, David and many others. But we must humble ourselves to ask, seek and knock. The language used here is to keep asking, keep knocking, and keep seeking. Persistence is humbling. God gives grace to the humble. we also must have faith when we ask. The man knocking continued to knock because he had incredible faith, faith that his tired friend had food and would give it to him. Therefore, he didn’t give up. And we shouldn’t either. We know God is rich and has everything we need pertaining to godliness and we know he is willing to give to those who ask.
Jesus said. “EVERYONE who asks receives, but suppose one of you fathers has a son….now the request is not being made by a friend, but a son. the subject changes. If your son asked you for a fish would you give him a stone? The language here refers to the son being those present, asking the father, God. Now keep in mind these are the people whose ancestors where given bread from heaven for 40 years in the wilderness. They know the answer to that question. But Jesus brings it down to a very personal and emotional example, especially to those who were poor. Most men and woman listening would have children. “If your son was hungry and asked for an egg would you give him a scorpion?” Of course not, our compassion towards our children who rely on us and our affection and love for them changes our willingness. Most parents would willingly give their last piece of bread to feed their children, even when it meant they themselves would starve. The friend receives because of persistence, the son receives because of love.
Mankind is evil, filled with sin, and all sorts of wickedness. We murder, we are greedy, we hate, we disobey, we curse each other and yet, most parents know how to give good gifts to their children, according to what they ask. Not only do we know how, but we do it whenever it is in our power to do so. Jesus reminds the people here, God is not a man. He is not an unjust judge, or a tired friend, God is good, perfect, loving and righteous. Jesus says: “how much more then, will God give to those who ask for the Helper.” God is a good father, void of evil inclinations, how much easier it is for God to give to his children.
Even so weather, we are a friend who is persistent in our asking God for something, or a child of God he will give us what we ask for. For everyone who asks receives.
This is the last piece. When Jesus says father and son, he also speaks of himself. Jesus said, “in that day you will ask me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the father in my name for anything he will give it to you in my name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be made full.” John 16:23
“Whatever you ask in my name that will I do that the father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14: 13-14. Not only is Jesus saying, ask in Jesus name, meaning ask as if you were me, the son of God but he will give it to you in my name. Within Jesus’ name is the riches and glory and every need is met. And what is his name? Yeshua which means, Salvation. It is within that name, salvation that we are made well, that we have all we need pertaining to life.
Jesus said to ask for the Holy Spirit and God would surely give the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the word of God manifested in us. He is our helper. Remember next time you ask for help, the Lord will not refuse the Holy Spirit to those children who ask persistently. Jesus taught his disciples when you need help to pray with persistence, with faith, in his name, and as children, and the Father will not refuse you.
parts of psalm 18 “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised and i am saved from my enemies. the cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. In my distress i called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry for help before him came into his ears. He bowed the heavens and came down with thick darkness under his feet. He rose upon a cherub and flew; and he sped upon the wings of the wind. He drew me out of many waters, he delivered me from the strong enemy. He rescued me because he delighted in me.”