Day 118: The Persistence Test

Luke 11:5-10 :

He said to them, “Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,’ and he from within will answer and say, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you’? I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.

“I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

Sometimes, God responds in a way that reveals to us our own condition. God’s ways are so much wiser than ours and He cares about inner character for more than we typically do, and we read from Scripture that sometimes God crafts situations for the specific purpose of exposing and modifying our character. That’s one thing that, I believe, Jesus is talking about here. He gives us a story of a man who bothers his neighbor enough that he has to get out of bed and help him. This hardly sounds like a moral story but I can see that it is emphasizing a faith issue.

The man who was bothering his neighbor really wanted bread and he really wanted it now! His motives may have not been the best and he may have not been very polite, but one thing is certain, he wanted bread and he believed his neighbor could help him.

The point I see here is that when we pray to God we need to really want what it is we are asking for. If you just casually pray for world peace and go on it isn’t very believable because it doesn’t really show that you want what you are asking for. If you ask for world peace over and over again, then it shows that it really bothers you and you really do want a real God to help you.

Now notice how Jesus states this famous verse. He says that we should “keep” asking, seeking, and knocking and everyone who asks, seeks, and knocks will receive. Notice that he tied persistence to the process? In other words, we aren’t really asking if we don’t persist. We aren’t really knocking if we don’t persist. We aren’t really seeking if we don’t persist. God is easily capable of doing what we ask immediately. If He doesn’t, He may be challenging our honesty. As we read earlier when the disciples couldn’t cast out the demon and Jesus said it required fasting, sometimes, God requires our persistence. This reveals the reality of our request. To give up quickly, would expose a lack of true desire, or worse, a doubt of God’s ability or willingness.

This is one thing that really exposes my prayers. I love to have big ideas, but often, those ideas are temporary and I don’t really want them later. I need to be challenged by God to persevere because it reminds me that the truest desires are not temporary. They continue until they are resolved.