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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:9-10 (NIV)
Read: Luke 11:1-13
Consider: Many people give up on prayer because they expect an immediate answer from God. If they have to wait and keep on praying, they can easily become discouraged and give up.
In Luke 11, in a section on Jesus’ teaching on prayer, a story is told of someone seeking help from a neighbour and receiving the required assistance because of their persistence. It would have been easy for the person seeking help to accept the neighbour’s initial unwillingness to help and return home empty handed. However, their persistence paid off and eventually the neighbour helped them.
So what are we to get from this story? It cannot be that God is unwilling to help us. Nor can it be that God will only help us if we pester him enough. The story is there for a purpose and this is to encourage us not to give up when we are praying, but to be persistent.
Persistence goes against what society expects today. Society expects instant answers; after all we live in the internet age where everything and everyone can be accessed quickly and easily. God is not the internet. While he could answer our prayers immediately, he sometimes chooses to let us wait so as to teach us a bigger lesson. The Old and New Testaments contain details of many instances where people prayed over long periods of time, before seeing an answer to their prayers. In some cases they didn’t see an answer in their own lifetime, but God answered their prayers in a future generation.
So when reading Luke 11, don’t take the words ‘Ask … Receive’, ‘Seek … Find’ and ‘Knock … Opened’ as somehow indicating immediacy of God answering. Read them in context and you will see that what is being talked about is persistence in prayer.
Pray: Father, may we develop persistence in prayer, believing that you will answer our prayers in your own way and at your own time. Amen