5 June 2013Luke 11:5-8
“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.” (v. 8)
This story comes after the story of Mary and Martha when Christ encourages Martha to allow Mary to remain reflecting (Luke 10:38-42) and when Christ has suggested how people might pray by offering the "Our Father" to his disciples (Luke 11:1-4). Then it concludes with those famous words, "for everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 11:10).
Persistence is not something that I have considered to be a particularly endearing quality for us as Christians. The possibility that generosity is being given in bad grace, I would suggest, does not speak well for future relationships! But here we have Jesus actively encouraging us to keep banging on the door, not to give up until we get there. He uses the illustration of knocking on a neighbours door in the small hours to ask for food, which is a practical example of how needs may be met.
Set within the context of prayer and deep reflection it seems to me that this parable is not about material needs being satisfied, but rather about how our need for prayer must be earnestly sought after as the thing we should be asking for. In verse 13 Luke's Gospel then goes on to say that the greatest thing we can ask for is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
If our relationship with Christ is to be sustained, we need the food that prayer gives us: the sort of food that is central, to whom we are as Christian people; the food that keeps Christ at the centre of our lives. For in the to and fro of asking and receiving we may find the still centre that nourishes and nurtures all that is of God.
- Spend some time today in silence. Prepare the space that you will 'be' in, and in the preparation think about what you are doing and why. Listen to the silence, feel it inside you. As you prepare to leave your place of silence observe how you are.
- Think about all those who are surrounded by a silence that is oppressive to them or those who are surrounded by noise continually. Give thanks for the opportunities you have to choose how and where you lead your life.