7663 - Persistence


(Original script will not match edited audio completely)

God’s Word is spiritual food for the soul. Let’s feast together on a portion today.

After Jesus gave instructions to His disciples regarding prayer, He expanded their grasp of the nature of Father God a bit by talking about persistence.

Let me read Luke 11:5-13, then we can discuss it.

Then he said to them, "Suppose one 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.

"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; and he who seeks finds; and to him 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!"

The first paragraphs deal with two friends. One of these men had already bedded down for the night. In the humble homes of that area space was limited, probably only one room. Usually the bed was an elevated platform at the end of the room, on which the entire family slept. Animal pets were brought in and left on the floor. Finally the door was locked and it was a tight fit for all concerned.

Around midnight there was a persistent knock. The home owner held his peace and waited for the intruder to go away. But again and again the knock came. Finally the man in bed had to get up. In doing so he disturbed his entire family, including sleepy children, and the animals as they slept on the floor, in order to get the door.

One of his friends is at the door and explains that an unexpected visitor has come, and there’s no bread to feed him. Custom requires that the host provide for the visitor before all retire to sleep.

Reluctantly, perhaps disgruntled, the sleepy man will give the bread to the needy man because he is persistent. If the needy man had stopped knocking, there would have been no exchange. The family would have returned to sleep for the night.

Jesus explains that if humans respond to persistent need such as this, will not a loving heavenly Father respond even more quickly and graciously to a need of one of His children.

In the matter of persistence in prayer, the one knocking is the focus. This would correspond to the person who is praying. The bold persistence serves to change the heart of the one praying. It removes any apathy and increases the intensity of recognizing the need. The continued conversation is designed to bring our desires and expectations into alignment and agreement with God’s desires.

It’s not a matter of overcoming God who is relucatnt to supply our need; but rather, faithful persistence illustrates to God that we are very serious about laying the request before Him. Jesus tells every believer to literally keep on asking, keep on seeking, and to keep on knocking. That’s the language in the original. Keep on showing that you believe God’s promises. God is accessible and is very willing to respond.

James 4:2 says: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Interject this truth into this issue and we have compelling reason to continue to ask God to open His hand of blessing to us.

And our persistent prayer affords a refining of our request to bring it into agreement with God’s desire. Then gracious God is willing and able to respond to His child, and His answer will always be what is best for us.