March 7, 2016: Pray Without Ceasing (Part Three)
Lord, teach us to pray (v. 1).
How kind of Jesus to urge us to pray for the same thing over and over again! Following his model prayer is the parable of the persistent friend, the man who goes to his neighbor in dire need of bread only to be turned away. Apparently the old saying, “A friend in need is a friend in deed” doesn’t always apply! Jesus taught, however, that if you make a nuisance of yourself by asking over and over again, you might finally get the thing for which you’re asking. The logic is simple, and in fact Jesus’ interpretation of the parable follows. “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” (v. 9).
We are given permission by Jesus to ask the Father for the same thing over and over again. We all know that some prayers seem to go unanswered, and such is the mystery of God’s providence. But it never alters both the desirability and necessity of asking! This must be why Jesus compares God the Father to a loving parent who surely would never turn away from a child in need. “Is there anyone…who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?” (Matthew 7:9).
I served as a pastor for many years and have spent endless hours with people in deep need, encouraging them to take heart in this parable. The living God is not annoyed by our persistence. He encourages!
Prayer: Create boldness in us, Lord, to pray without ceasing.
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.