Importunate in Prayer

Luke 11: 5-13
Gal 3: 1-5/ Lk 1: 69-75

…he will give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
(Luke 11:8)

We may not receive in prayer
When we ask for some material need,
But God will give His Spirit’s power
If it’s for others we intercede.

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 and I 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 shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 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. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you 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!” (Luke 11:5-13)

Reflection

The story might seem ridiculous or funny to us, but for the people in the Middle East, especially during Jesus’ time, one would go to extreme measures for a visiting friend even if it meant pestering his neighbor in the middle of the night for a few loaves of bread. Doesn’t this compare to our own Filipino culture of hospitality?

The traveler in the story was fortunate to have a friend who would go to shameless lengths (even at an ungodly hour) just to be able to provide for his nourishment. Their culture of hospitality demanded it. We recall the extreme kindness of Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Genesis 19), who was even willing to give his two daughters to the Sodomites rather than surrender his two guests for the mob “to have intimacies with them.” To protect his guests, Lot was willing to go to that extreme, because “they have come under the shelter of my roof” (Gen.19:8).

How far are we willing to go, or to what extent do we make sacrifices for a friend in need? I believe our Lord Jesus used this parable because He always practiced what He preached to be the Model for us to follow. Eventually, He Himself would be our “importunate friend” Who would go to all extremes if only to assure our salvation. In the garden of Gethsemane, He pleaded with the Father if it was possible to find another way, but still submitted to the inevitable. And in His story, He is teaching us that against all odds, our prayers will prevail if only we persist and persevere. This is because true prayer springs from a sense of critical need, and usually, not for our own benefit but for others, as in the case of the guest who had come from a long journey, tired and very hungry. When we pray, we must not only ask, but we must also go out and seek for the solution; and when we have found it, we must knock continually on the door of opportunity until it is opened to us. In our perseverance, how can our Father in heaven refuse, when He is far more generous and loving than any father on earth can be? Finally, Jesus tells us to trust in His Father’s mercy.

Almighty Father, may our prayers conform always to Your will, reminding us that if some are not granted, it is because You have something better in store. Amen.

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