He Loves When You Call

It’s not by accident that Jesus teaches on prayer in Luke 11:1-4 and then shares a parable on prayer about how God delights to answer our prayers in verses 5-13. Here is the reality—we often feel as if our prayers go unanswered or that God might not be concerned with our prayers

After teaching us to pray, Luke records Jesus’s teaching on persistent prayer and our caring Father in Luke 11:5-13.  His point is we are to keep praying and trusting in our Father’s loving care for us.  Why?  Because our Father is not like an uncaring friend.

Jesus’s parable contrasts the Father’s loving care for His children and the reluctant care of a supposed friend.  Hospitality in the ancient Near East was, as one author said, a sacred duty. Lodging and food would be graciously and willingly shared not only with a stranger in need, but especially a friend in need. Still today, in most cultures, hospitality is taken with extreme seriousness. 

In our story, a man goes to his friend late at night and asks for 3 loaves of bread for his guest. Even though he would have been extremely embarrassed to approach his neighbor late at night with this need, it shows the urgency of being a good host to visitors. Likely the home is a one-room home.  Everyone is asleep in the same room when the neighbor knocks on his friend’s door.  The door of homes in this culture would be open in the morning and remain open throughout the day as people would come in and out. 

His friend’s answer is clear—don’t bother me because our door is shut, and the kids are asleep.   Don’t wake sleeping kids, whatever you do!! Their friendship is not enough to prod him to get up, open the door, and lend him some bread.  However, the neighbor finally gets up to help his friend (v 8) because of the friend’s “persistence.”

This word means shameless or gives the idea of avoidance of shame.  In other words, because the friend was willing to humble himself and ask late at night for bread from his friend to take care of his guests, the neighbor finally gets up and helps him.  The friend is willing to give him what he needs because of his persistence.  In a very real sense, the friend is shamelessly asking for his neighbor’s help, and he receives his request because of his continual asking. 

Verse 8 makes it clear that the neighbor helps his friend not because he is a friend, but because he doesn’t stop asking. As we think on prayer, we know that our Father is not like an uncaring friend whom we ask for help but refuses to help until he is over being bothered by us because it is late at night.  Rather, our Father is much, much different in His care for us.

As we go to our Father in prayer and we seemingly pray with no forthcoming answer, know that He is not bothered by us nor uncaring toward us. Jesus is contrasting the attitude of a supposed friend and the attitude of God toward our requests. Like the friend without bread for his guests goes to his neighbor for help, we must humble ourselves before God, acknowledging our need from Him.

Yet, in contrast, our Father is not like the neighbor who is bothered by his friend and yet eventually caves in to his request.  God does not treat us like the friend who calls you and you look at your phone and say, “Oh no, it’s _____.  Don’t answer it!” 

How is our Father different?  He loves when you call!  Dear believer, continue to “ask, seek, and knock” (v 9-10) because our God is neither bothered nor uncaring when you call.  He loves when you call and loves to give good gifts to His children (v 11-12).  So, keep calling because our God delights to hear and answer your needs. 

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