May 16 I Thursday
2 Kings 24-25
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” —Matthew 6:7
A parable can be one of two things. It could either be a comparison, where the story mirrors the message being taught, or a parable could be a contrast, where the story is the opposite of what is being taught and teaches us a lesson by contrast. To teach His disciples about prayer, Jesus tells a remarkable parable about a friend of a friend of a friend. When Friend 1 arrives at midnight to visit Friend 2, Friend 2 realizes that he has no food to feed him. Friend 2 then decides to go to Friend 3 asking to borrow three loves of bread. Friend 3 responds, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:7). But Friend 2 doesn’t take no for an answer and keeps banging on the door, shouting louder and louder until eventually, Friend 3 gets up, comes down, opens the door and gives him some bread.
This is one of those parables that presents a contrast, where Jesus teaches us what prayer is not like. God is not like Friend 3, and we are not to behave like Friend 2. We do not need to keep banging on the door of heaven and making a fuss to get a reluctant God to respond to us, yet this is exactly what some people think praying is.
Following this parable, Jesus tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). The marvellous thing is everyone who asks is going to receive, everyone who seeks is going to find, and to everyone who knocks the door is going to be open. But what are we to ask, seek and knock for? Not things from God, but God Himself! If all we seek is our own agendas, terms and end results, we are not truly seeking God, which nullifies the effectiveness of our praying.
We may pray and repeat certain prayers—that is entirely legitimate—but we must not do so thinking that we might somehow change God’s mind. When we pray, we can come to Him recognizing that our Father knows what we need before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). As we pray “Your will be done,” we do so knowing that the answer will be the Holy Spirit, who will come and further the agenda that God has in our life. Our God is a loving Father who delights in giving what is best to his children, which is why we can pray with confidence, knowing that He hears our prayers.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear my prayers. Help me to find peace in the situations that I face, remembering that You know and provide for my needs.