Tomorrow we enter into our second week of 21 Days of Prayer! Every year that we have participated in 21 Days of Prayer, many people have already had their prayers answered by the end of the first week. And this time is no exception! We have already seen healings and other miracles unfold in people’s lives just in this past week. Testimonies are coming in every day. It is amazing to see, and we give God all of the glory!
But while it is exciting for the many who have had their prayers answered already, what if you have not received an answer to your prayers yet? What do you do?
I love Jesus’s parable in Luke 11:5-8 about the friend who ask for bread at night. In it, a friend eventually agrees to help his neighbor despite it being very late at night–not because they are friends, but due to his persistent demands.
In this parable, Jesus is not comparing Our Heavenly Father to the neighbor who finally gave in because he was annoyed at his friend who wouldn’t stop knocking; He is actually contrasting the two. Jesus is communicating that if even a reluctant friend would answer out of shameless audacity and persistence, how much more will the Heavenly Father give out of our persistence. And the key is, God knows that the persistence is for our sake, not His. God knows that your persistence compels you to the true meaning of prayer, which is a deepened relationship with Him. God knows that persistence in prayer causes you to examine your heart and evaluate if you are treating God as a genie or loving God for who He is. God knows that persistence produces patience and trust, which allows for spiritual growth in our lives. And if we got exactly what we wanted without any need for persistence at the expense of any of the above, what a tragedy that would be.
It’s also important to note that unlike a fickle person who would finally give in and give us what we want simply so they could stop being bothered by our asking (like the friend in the parable), our God is not that way. It is clear that God wants to give us only good things. The very next verses after the parable (Luke 11:11-13) says: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
So keep going! Keep praying! And while you are patiently waiting and persistently praying, be confident that your loving Father will give you only what is good for you.
You can read the parable for yourself here:
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “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 asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
— Pastor Brittney Baird