Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 8, 2012

keep on…

Can you imagine a more frightful or frustrating surprise than to be awakened out of a sound sleep by a phone call? Your mind races as you figure out how to find the phone. Will it be serious or just another annoying wrong number? Ten years ago this fall, the phone rang at 3 a.m. and our daughter was crying and quite upset. She had just moved to New York City for college, and was living on the upper west side of Manhattan in student housing. She was not prone to homesickness and had never given us a late night scare. But this was different; it was the rats!  They had invaded her building, and she and her roommates were scared to death of them. So what did I do? I went to NYC the next day and rat-proofed the dorm room….just what any other caring father would have done. The Bible is full of stories of how the Father cares for His children? One of Christ’s parables gives us insight into the heart of God.

After Christ finished praying in a certain place, one of His disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus gave them a model prayer and then launched into a story. Luke chapter 11 gives us the parable.

Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’  “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’  “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.  v.5-8 (NIV)

[ Always study parables in their period
Remember they are told in the
experience of daily life in the first century
and not our 21st century Western culture. ]

From my study, I have surmised that the bold request would have been a result of wanting to show hospitality (part of the culture). Picture the person knocking at the door of a friend living with his family in a one room peasant’s house. I can picture the scene and the frustration that would have ensued. Jesus explains that although he would be reluctant, the sleepy neighbor would respond to this boldness and persistence. Please be careful not to interpret this story as a parallel of our Father’s care for us when we come to Him, but as a contrast. We have an un-weary Father who desires that His children come with their burdens. Can you believe your Father wants you to continually come to Him? Do you believe He will answer? Have you given up hope? 

After giving the parable, Jesus, invites them to come boldly to the throne of grace. His words are timeless, and we don’t have to wait for midnight emergencies. He is waiting for His children to call on Him

“Here’s what I’m saying:  
Ask and you’ll get; 
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
Luke 11:9 (NIV)

In studying this passage, we find that the tense of these admonitions is to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. Are you living persistent in prayer, with a settled confidence that He is committed to meet your needs? If not, start by faith today.

If my daughter calls at midnight with another rat emergency, I would be on my way quickly. So would you! With great power and divine care, God is ready for our emergencies, and every other need. So why do we hesitate to really seek Him? If you are in Christ, know that you have a good and loving Father who is not reluctant to answer your prayers.

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