Luke 11 v 8. “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”
We are still on the topic of prayer and now Luke reminds us of the teaching of Jesus regarding the quality of perseverance. Jesus does this by telling a story about a man who suddenly has to provide food for an unexpected guest. He goes to his friend next door but his friend does not want to get up in the middle of the night. But the man persists and finally the neighbour gives in. What the desperate man could not obtain by virtue of his friendship, he at last gets because of his perseverance.
Here in South Africa we have plenty of examples of perseverance at almost all of our traffic lights. At almost all our intersections there are beggars. Have you noticed how they do not take no for an answer? They simply and cheerfully move on to the next car with their extended hands or little tin cup. They do this day in and day out. Why? Because it pays off, or else they would not do it. One Christian Charity told us recently that the average street beggar makes enough money every month through begging to sustain themselves in their lives on the streets. It’s not luxury, but it is survival. That is the value of perseverance. And that is the quality Jesus underscores in his teaching.
For reasons of his own God does not always give us what we ask for immediately. But an attribute of perseverance indicates an inner attribute of trust. It also indicates how much we value the things we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. So although we do not always seem to see direct answers to prayer, God steadily works at answering our heartfelt requests that are Kingdom-centred and not self-centred. And in that way we grow in our spiritual lives.