Persistent Prayer

JESUS SPEAKING

            And he said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Please, 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 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, but because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.  So I say to you ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11: 5-10.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            (In first century Middle Eastern culture, hospitality was paramount.  Welcoming visitors in to your home meant providing for all of their needs.  Guests were given food, shelter, and protection; failure to meet these requirements was considered a great disgrace.)  In this parable, a tired and wearied traveler arrived at his friend’s home late in the evening, but he lacked sustenance.  The homeowner approached his neighbor, hoping the man might spare some food.  The late request roused the neighbor from his sleep; irritated, he denied the first appeal [In a common Hebrew household most of the family slept in one main room on the first floor; fathers, children, in-laws, and even important livestock were crowded together; getting out of bed and to the door meant waking the entire family; not an easy task; which is likely why the man initially said, “do not trouble me”.]  The neighbor eventually received the food because he kept knocking; he refused to take ‘no for an answer.’  In this parable, the request for food is symbolic of prayer.  The unrelenting neighbor represents anyone who desires God’s blessings.  The man who supplied the food is emblematic of God; who enjoys and rewards our persistent petitions.

            At the age of 23 an inquisitive youth from Gloucester, spied an advertisement in a Boston newspaper that read, “Wanted, young man as an understudy to a financial statistician.  P.O. Box 1720.”  He responded to the ad by way of letter; but he received no reply.  He wrote a second letter, and then a third; still no reply.  So he made his way down to the post office and requested the name of the owner of Box 1720; but the clerk refused.  He then met with the Postmaster, but he too refused (claiming it was illegal to provide him with that information.)  The young man remained determined; he arose early in the morning, hopped the first train to Boston, and entered the post office.  He stood patiently with his eyes fixed on box 1720.  After quite some time, a man appeared; he opened the box, grabbed the mail and left.  The young man followed him to his brokerage firm; he entered and asked to speak to the manager.  He told the manager that he had written three letters, before going to the post office (where they refused to provide him with the proper information.)  The manager asked, “But how did you find out that I was the advertiser?”  The youth replied, “I stood in the lobby of the post office for several hours, watching Box 1720.  When the man came in and took the mail from the box, I followed him here.”  The manager said, “Young man, you are just the kind of persistent fellow I want.  You’re hired” (Sunshine Magazine; paraphrased.)

            Similarly, God rewards those who are persistent in prayer.  All too often, our prayers are erratic and inconsistent.  Although we make our requests known to God, we frequently get discouraged when he doesn’t answer them immediately (in turn, many stop asking.)  If you have need of something, continue in prayer daily and do not relent.  Your blessing may not come on the 1st day, the 10th day, or even the 100th day; but if you are persistent, it will come.  Never give up; never stop asking, never stop seeking; and never stop knocking; for God is listening, and He is willing and able to give you the desires of your heart.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, hear our prayers.  Provide us with more of Your Holy Spirit.  Behold, we stand at Your door and knock; we will not leave until You bless us.  May we be persistent in our prayers; may we be patient; and may we endure.  Transform us; provide for our needs; and give us Your mercy and grace.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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