Shameless, Audacious Prayer – May 25, 2016
[Jesus said,] 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. (Luke 11:8)
When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, as John the Baptizer had done with his disciples, Jesus taught his followers the Lord’s Prayer. It begins with relationship (“Father”), adoration (“hallowed be your name”), and a desire to be under the lordship of God (“your kingdom come”).
After this, Jesus continues to teach about prayer and he gives the example of one friend begging another friend for bread at midnight to feed a guest. The one being asked resists. After all, it is late at night and everyone is in bed for the night. The beggar persists and finally his friend caves in to his request because of his shameless audacity.
It would be easy to assume that the lesson here is to be persistent in prayer and God, like the sleepy, beleaguered friend, will cave into your unrelenting request.
But I think that Jesus is pointing us in a slightly different direction. In the ancient world, it was thought that you had to gain the attention and favour of the god through sacrifices before they would even hear your request. But whether or not they would grant your request, no one could really know because the gods were faithless and fickle.
At times, we pray like God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is like a sleeping friend who we have to rouse and badger to get what we ask for. But the point of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is that our Father God is not like those false gods or a human friend. Your Father in heaven is a good, good Father who loves you, who knows what you want and is already learning forward to generously bless you. What Jesus is trying to tell us is this: Don’t be afraid to ask for anything, anywhere at any time. You can trust that your Father will give you what is best from an eternal perspective.
Prayer: Dear Father, help me to pray to you in shameless audacity. Help me to trust in your generous love for me. Amen.