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Persistent Prayer

( [email protected] ) Mar 17, 2010 07:00 AM EDT

Luke 11:5-13

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (v. 10)

“Friend!” cries the midnight bread-borrower, hammering at the door. This guy is a pest. He won’t take no for an answer. His horsefly annoyance finally wears down the sleeper, who gets up and gives him some bread, not out of friendship, but to get rid of him!

Some parables are hard to understand. This one isn’t. We know what Jesus is driving at. Always pray. Don’t give up. Be like the midnight door-banger: insatiable, pressing, undaunted. If some grouchy sleepyhead will answer a midnight knock just to get some peace and quiet, how much more readily will God open the door to his children and supply their deeper needs.

Not many of us pray that way. Our prayers are more like quarters in a slot machine; if we don’t hit the jackpot after a few tries, we give up. But Jesus says that if we mean to have our prayers answered, we must pray with persistence.

Some of us have persisted in prayer for years, banging relentlessly at heaven’s door, beseeching the Father to give us the bread we so desperately need, but the door remains unopened. Unanswered prayer is a dark mystery, but in the center of the darkness there shines the luminous confidence of Jesus in persistent prayer. Keep on asking, he says, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door shall open. “Come!” said St. Catherine, “Let us storm the heavens with our prayers!”

Prayer: Father, renew my confidence in prayer. Amen.

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