“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 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 shameful audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
This passage calls us to be persistent in times of need, as is demonstrated by the friend looking for bread at midnight. Examples of persistent prayer are found throughout the Bible.
We look to Genesis 18:16-33, where Abraham is crying out to God, for H`im to have mercy on Sodom. He is pleading relentlessly, and God hears his cry and acts. The original plan of destroying the whole city is changed to saving it if 10 righteous men can be found. This is a massive save, due to the perseverance of Abraham as well as our Father’s compassion.
This passage teaches us to do the same. Keep asking, and you will be answered. Just as the man kept knocking on the door of his friend until he was answered. We are shown here to pray for sustenance for ourselves and for others in need. This is also seen in Job 42:10, ‘ After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.’ Am I just being annoying? God is a million times kinder than any friend. Looking forward to verses 11-13, we read how the gifts of the father are always good and always better than the gifts men give. We can see in the parable of the persistent widow a similar message (Luke 18:1-8): people respond to our requests when we are persistent because it annoys them. God responds because He loves us. Will He hear me? In today’s passage, it is the middle of the night when the request is made and the friend acts, even though he was asleep. We know that our God is not hindered by time and routine as Psalm 121 says: ‘He who watches over you does not slumber, Indeed the one who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep.’ It means we can come to God in confidence that our prayers will always be heard by our Father, no matter when we cry out to Him.
Why pray with persistence? Midnight is the ultimate time of human need. We can cry out to God and still be talking to a friend. This is a similar situation to us and our sin. We are in such a dire situation; there is nowhere else we can go, only to this friend, our heavenly Father. He is the only place we can go and expect help and deliverance. We need this so badly, and we can only get from God. So praying persistently just makes sense!