The third category of teaching parables Jesus gave, is the parables about prayer and they are;
- The parables of the friend at midnight
- The parable of the unjust judge.
Because both parables are very similar in meaning, i have decided to talk about both on this blog.
The parable of the friend at midnight is found in Luke 11:5-8. While the parable of the unjust judge (also known as the parable of the persistent widow) is found in Luke 18:1-8.
Parable of the friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-8)
5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
Prior to this parable, Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray (see verses 1-4) before going further to teach them the need to pray persistently.
This parable shows how humans can give in to requests received persistently. Persistence and boldness in prayer overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. It changes our mind and heart and it helps us understand and express the intensity of our need. It also helps us recognise God’s work. Persistence makes us stay in a continuous position of reliance and total dependance on God. We sometimes give us too easily in prayers.
Parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8)
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
Widows and orphans were among the most vulnerable hence the old and new testamnets emphasises ont he need to for them to be cared for. The widow got an answer to her request because she was persistent.
To persist in prayer does not mean endless repetition or long prayer sessions (although there is nothing wrong with long prayer sessions). Constant prayer means keeping our requests continually before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer. When we live by faith, we are not to give up. Our answer may not come when we want it to. It may not always come the way we want it. God may delay answering, but His delays are always for good reasons. As we persist in prayer, we grow in character, faith and hope. He tells us to persist in asking, so we can develop and grow; not because He is a mean God.
Finally, our prayers may never be answered in our time. God promised Abraham the land of Canaan but that promise wasn’t fulfilled in Abraham’s days. There are certain seeds of prayers we sow now, that our children, grand children, great grandchildren and generations after us will harvest. It isn’t answered now, doesn’t mean it will never be answered.
Personally i have had prayer request that i have been praying for years, in my persistence, i am learning a lot about God and about myself. If that prayer request never get answered, the lessons i have learnt in my waiting room are great.
The microwave generation is making many of us fall into the ‘i want it now’ trap. The danger of this is that we tend to give up easily. This is also affecting the spiritual lives of many. Some think Jesus isn’t coming again because of how long they’ve been hearing of his coming. Many have lost faith and hope in God. I pray when the Son of man returns, that He will meet us in faith.
Next on this series, we will be talking about the parable about neighbours. See you then 🙂
If you would like to read previous parables, please click here.