Priest's Perspective

7 October 2021 Luke 11:5-13

Daily Gospel Reflection

5Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you goes to his friend at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine has come to me on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’

7And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Do not bother me. My door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’

8I tell you, even though he will not get up to provide for him because of his friendship, yet because of the man’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13So if you who 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!”

This is the Gospel of Christ.

It’s so down to earth. I’m often surprised by what we find in the Biblical Text. Of all the things Jesus said and did, why did the author choose to include that story or that event. For me this one in which Luke includes the story about the bread at midnight and Matthew does not (Matthew 7 just has the ask seek knock) makes one wonder what had happened in the day that Jesus used his little parable about the man and the bread at midnight.  Sometimes the disciples took Jesus too literally and he was trying to teach them a deep truth and they were stuck at the level of the physical.

Here Jesus says – even the average human being knows how to answer a request and respond appropriately – and when inconvenienced will respond to the persistent pleas of another, and when approached to do ones duty will do it and not bring harm when asked for good.

Luke highlights that Jesus is saying “how can you doubt God, in ways that you would not doubt a fellow human being?” If the sinful nature can respond appropriately, how much more will God answer your prayers!

We all have unanswered prayers. The man who needed to entertain a guest at midnight is a symbol of inappropriate timing, here Jesus assures us that even when we seem to be asking for the right thing at the wrong time God will hear and answer our prayer. And God will give us what is good for us and not bring us harm.

I often think back on the times that I have asked for things and felt God did not answer my prayer, but have realised years later, that if I had got what I had wanted it would not have been fish but a snake. Sometimes we don’t trust God that he gives us what is good for us even when we can’t see it. We are short-sighted in our requests; we ask from what we know and what we see and what our immediate need is, God has a birds eye view of our lives. He answers our prayers from an eternal perspective, we ask from a present need and a limited understanding. Often, we don’t see the bigger picture. God knows what is best for our lives and although we can keep asking, we must leave the answer to God. Sometimes our prayers are answered, but we don’t recognise it because God is doing what we need, and we are looking for our desire to be fulfilled.

The lesson here is that we must be persistent in prayer, and we must accept that what we are given in answer is even better than what we have asked for.

Take some time today to reflect on that which you have asked for, and that which you feel has not been answered and that which you are unable to recognise.

Examine your prayer life – is it all about asking for convenience for you? Or are you “up at midnight – praying for the inconvenient needs of others?” Are your prayers about your needs or are you bringing a broken and needy world before God in prayer? Are you loving the world back to God? Are you praying for bread (the life of Christ) to touch another and fill another and bless another?

We need to develop an ever-deepening life of prayer; prayer is intimate and sacrificial and hospitable to the needs of others.  I love the opening line of the Lord’s prayer “ Our Father” it unites us with the one we are praying for, it gives us common ground it brings us into unity. It loves our enemy for whom we are praying, by embracing him or her as a brother or sister, “Our Father.”  

Prayer is not just a convenient chat with God to keep connected. Prayer is a persistent and fervent interaction with God most High, it is being given an audience with the Most High. Prayer is a powerful and a holy and a blessed audience with the King. We need to respect prayer and the privilege that it is. In the words of the psalmist – “who is humankind that you are mindful of us” and yet unworthy as we are we are welcome in the throne room of grace.

I pray that we will humble ourselves and enter the presence of God with a deep appreciation for the invitation from Jesus, and there in the presence of Most High God, worship him and seek him and bring him the cares he has laid on our hearts and seek the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the answer to the prayers that we pray in the world today. What we pray for we must be willing to be part of in the world. What we pray for we must be willing to be used to bring about in the world. Prayer is not a plea to God to get things done, it is a submission to Him to do what is needed to be done.

So, let’s pray

Lord God, you have called us to have compassion on our neighbour and to be mindful of the many needs of the world. We have recognised the need in our neighbour for the bread of life to come into their lives and bring hope and healing, give us the strength to pray at “midnight” to be willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of another and, through Christ and with Christ and in Christ bring the Kingdom to every situation we face. Answer our prayers as may be best for us, grant us in this life sufficient success in the works of our hands and in the life to come eternal rests.

Amen.  

Leave a Reply