PART VI: THE PARABLES ON PRAYERThen he said to them, "Suppose one
CHAPTER 24 THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT
One day Jesus was praying. After he finished, one of
his disciples asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as
John taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1, New International
Version). In answer to this question, Jesus taught his
disciples the Model Prayer (sometimes called the Lord's
Prayer--John 17 is more correctly called the Lord's Prayer).
Jesus then told this parable.
The Parable of the Friend at Midnight is found only in
Luke 11:5-8. It is the first parable of a trilogy on prayer.
All three of the parables on prayer are found only in Luke.
of you has a friend, and he goes to him
at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me
three loaves of bread, because a friend
of mine on a journey has come to me, and
I have nothing to set before him.'
"Then the one inside answers, `Don't
bother me. The door is already locked,
and my children are with me in bed. I
can't get up and give you anything.' I
tell you, though he will not get up and
give him the bread because he is his
friend, yet because of the man's boldness
he will get up and give him as much as he
needs. (Luke 11:5-8, New International
Ralph Earle explains local customs in Jesus' day:
"Lend" (v. 5) means "grant me the use of, as a
friendly act." The "loaves" of Jesus' day were
something quite different from our modern, sliced,
baker's loaves of bread. They were like flat
breakfast biscuits or small pancakes. The man
wanted three loaves so that he could offer one to
his guest, eat one with him for fellowship, and
have an added one to offer his host for "seconds."
"In his journey" may be translated "out of his
way." But in the hot season in Palestine people
commonly traveled at night. So it was not
necessarily unusual that a traveler should arrive
at midnight. But it was inconvenient for the host.
In those days it was the custom for the women to
grind the barley or wheat each morning with little
handmills, and make fresh "loaves" of bread for the
day. Normally these would be eaten before night.
The Greek word for "importunity" (v. 8)
[boldness, NIV] is found only here in the New
Testament. It literally means "shamelessness."
When one knows his cause is just he has to be
shameless in asking. (Turnbull, Gen. ed.,
PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF LUKE,
by Ralph Earle, pp. 51-52).
Jesus makes his point here based on contrast, notThe Interpretation
likeness. If a neighbor who is not a friend and who doesn't
want to get up and disturb his family will get up just
because someone is shamelessly persistent, how much more will
our loving Heavenly Father give us the things we need, if we
persist in prayer! (Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, LUKE,
pp. 147 ff.).
God wants us to: (1) learn his will on a specific
matter; (2) ask him for the thing needed; and (3) persist in
faith until the answer to prayer comes. (See my electronic
book on prayer).
GOD WANTS US TO PERSIST IN FAITH
UNTIL HE ANSWERS PRAYER.
Although idle repetitions in prayer are forbidden,
persistency and importunity in prayer--wrestling
with God, and not letting him go until he has
blessed us--are here distinctly taught.... (Carr,
CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES,
LUKE, by F. W. Farrar, p. 261).
We give up too easily. God wants us to realize that
from the first time we prayed according to his will, he began
to work toward answering prayer. Our part is to keep
believing until his work is through, that is, until our
prayer has been answered! END