God-Soaked World Bible Guide – Day 15
March 20, 2017
Monday, March 20 – Luke 11:5-13
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 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.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Points of Interest:
- We’re hopping out of order for a day here. Week Four will take us into the life and teaching of Jesus, while we’ll spend the rest of this week in the ancient Hebrew prayer book of Psalms. Today, though, we take a detour through Jesus’ teaching on prayer to check in and see how our faith experiment is going thus far.
- Jesus describes an unusual, but not impossible, dilemma of daily life in his culture. Guests show up from out of town, and hospitality code demands welcoming them in and feeding them. But you’re out of food, no bakers are open for business, and everyone has locked their houses and gone to bed. If you trouble your neighbor, they’re going to tell you to bug off, but if you pester them long enough, you’ll get your bread.
- Fair enough, but then Jesus says this is what prayer is like. Pester God long enough, and you’ll get what you need. What do we make of this rather unflattering view of God, and the fact that this doesn’t always pan out in our experience? Well, it seems that this story is less about God and more about us. When Jesus talks about what God’s like, he shifts the analogy from sleepy neighbor to generous parent. God’s excited to give great gifts to his kids, and he finds it pleasurable – not annoying – for us to pester him about our wants and needs.
- As for the implied guarantee that we’ll always get what we want, Jesus also clarifies by the end that what God most likes to give God’s kids is the Holy Spirit. God’s especially excited to give his kids connection and an experience of God’s goodness. The greatest gift of God is God. So, in the end, I read this story as inviting us to pester God with our wants and needs and to metaphorically root around in the refrigerator of God’s house. Engage with God in prayer, try to listen, keep an eye out for what God might be doing in our circumstances. We’ll always get something good as we ask, seek, and knock, whether it’s the thing we were first looking for or not.
Prayer for our six – Ask God to give each of your six a positive experience of having their needs met, whether they’re asking God for them at the moment or not.
Spiritual Exercise – Let’s take a few minutes to ask ourselves how our 40-day faith experiment is going thus far.
What have you been asking God to do for you?
Has anything changed so far in response to this prayer – either in the thing you’re asking for, or in you as the asker?
What has been your experience of asking, searching, and knocking? Are you enjoying the process? Do you want to give up and go home hungry? Are your knuckles getting tired, so to speak, from banging on the door?
Do you have any desire to change what you are asking for, or to change how it is you are asking in this season?
Are you in any way experiencing the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Since this week will be all about an invitation to relate to God exactly as we are today, take a moment to express to God whatever thanks or impatience or frustration or hope you feel at the moment.
Close by asking yourself what you would like to do with Jesus’ invitation to continue to ask, search, and knock.