In Luke 11:1, one of Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. In response, Jesus gives them in verses 2-4 what some call “The Lord’s Prayer,” but more accurately should be called “The Model Prayer.” It is not a mantra but an outline by which we should pray to God.
In verse 5, after laying out The Model Prayer, Jesus shares a parable of contrast to drive home the point of persistency in prayer. He speaks of a “friend” who goes to another friend “at midnight” and says to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves.” There were no Wal-Mart Supercenters then, no 24-7 convenience stores. If you need bread in the middle of the night, you’ve got to get some from a friend. Imagine, one of your friends ringing the doorbell long after you have gone to bed, waking you from a sound sleep and asking you for a bag of Doritos!
This midnight visitor explains, “A friend of mine in his journey is come to me and I have nothing to set before him.” First century households made their own bread each morning. This man’s supply had been depleted. He had an unexpected guest and could not feed him. He was embarrassed and in need.
His friend answers in verse 7, “trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.” Modest homes often had one large room where all the family slept together. He would have had to disturb the whole household to honor this request. The disciples could easily picture this scene.
I always find it interesting to study scripture in light of culture and context. Can you visualize today’s story? What would you have done? Find out tomorrow the rest of the story.