The sleepy friend in Jesus’ story in Luke 11 doesn’t want to help out his neighbor. “Don’t bother me,” he says. “Are you crazy? My kids are asleep!” The way this guy responds to the late night knocking is what makes this story so real. All of us who’ve ever spent two hours wrestling with the kids to finally get them to sleep can relate.
He doesn’t want to be disturbed. He doesn’t want to get up. The only reason he does is so he can get some peace and quiet. “I’m not giving you the bread because I love you; I’m giving you the bread so you’ll go away and leave me alone.”
Yes, this story is about prayer. But God is not the grumpy guy in bed. The guy in bed is a human. That’s why we can relate to him so easily and maybe almost feel sorry for him. The story is an exercise in contrast. Jesus is telling us, “Look, this is your experience when you’re asking for something you need from a neighbor; but this is not what happens when you ask God for something you need.”
If you, even though you’re evil and sinful and selfish; if you, even in all your failures and sins and shortcomings; if you know how to give good gifts, how much more your Father in heaven? If this grumpy guy in bed finally got up and responded, how much more your Father in heaven? We can trust that God cares for us and that he hears us and that he will answer us when we pray.
“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.”
Your prayers will be heard and answered. Jesus repeats the same promise three times. He says almost the exact same thing three times, so distinctly: it will, it will, it will.
Because that’s how things work in the Kingdom of God. That’s how my Father operates.
“For everyone who asks, receives; everyone who seeks finds; everyone who knocks, the door is opened.”
That’s the rule.
Jesus speaks so unconditionally here. It’s so clear. Let’s not ever water this down with our human understandings. When Jesus tells us things this clearly, let’s not distort it with our own wisdom. Let’s believe him. And if questions and difficulties come up — if it ever feels like God’s not answering or not listening to our prayers — let’s keep trusting these promises. God is taking care of the questions and difficulties. Our job is to fully accept and hold on to his word. And keep praying. He’ll answer.