LUKE 11:5-8 KJV
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and
shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend
me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have
nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the
door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot
rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because
he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise
and give him as many as he needeth.
The lesson of this parable is NOT that we must persist in
prayer to obtain an answer from an unwilling God. But that we
should be bold in asking.
A parable may teach by showing similarity or by contrasting
differences. The point here is based on contrast. This becomes
more clear, just a few verses later, in verse 13.
LUKE 11:13 KJV
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
How much more willing is God — than any earthly friend!
Friends may sometimes be undependable, but God is always
dependable! God is “rich unto all that call upon Him” (Romans
Read the story again and you will see that Jesus was asking a
question: “Who would have a friend that would not help in a
time of need?” Someone like that would not really be a friend.
A friend would not say, “Don’t bother me!”
However, even if the friendship was not that strong, if someone
has the boldness and audacity to ask for help in the middle of
the night, they would not be refused by someone they knew.
Even if it was inconvenient and they really didn’t want to
help, if you have the nerve to knock on their door and present
your request, they will not ignore you. Your audacity and
boldness will overcome any reluctance they might have, and you
will get your request.
This assumes some relationship was already established. For if
you knock on a stranger’s house at midnight insisting they give
you something, you are more likely to be met with a weapon,
instead of having your request granted.
Understanding this about human friends, HOW MUCH MORE your
Father in Heaven, who is perfect, can be counted on to help
whenever you come to Him. The key is that you must have the
confidence to come and make the request.
Note that this person was coming to get something for someone
else. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when we need
it for ourselves. But Jesus was especially encouraging us to
ask boldly for help for other people. They may not have a
relationship with God, so they can’t ask Him for help and have
confidence in receiving an answer, but you do, and you can!
Why was the person shameless in asking? Because he was his
friend. He had a relationship, so he boldly did something out
of the ordinary, knowing he was being unreasonable, but having
confidence to do it because he knew his friend. Although the
friend, at first, realizing how unreasonable the request was,
talked reluctantly, nevertheless, granted what was asked.
The word translated “importunity” in verse 8 is a Greek word,
used only once in the New Testament, which literally means
“without shame.” It pictures someone without bashfulness or
reluctance. Someone who did not hold back, or hesitate. Someone
with audacity, even recklessness in their disregard of anything
These descriptions indicate faith — a belief that if I make
the request, it will be granted.
Unfortunately, some modern Bible translations translate this
word as “persistence.” This is simply because many people, even
translators, have not clearly understood this parable.
Translation is not an exact science, but is subject to the bias
and level of understanding of the translator. So every
translation is affected by the beliefs of those who do the
In this parable, the person did not stand outside the door for
days on end while continuing to ask for bread. So the point
cannot be to just keep on asking for a long time, but to be
bold in asking, instead of being held back by fear or doubt.
Persistence in prayer (in the sense of keeping on asking for a
long time) is not the idea Jesus was encouraging in this
The point isn’t that God is reluctant and needs to be
persuaded. But that we should not be reluctant asking God for
help. Jesus makes the point clear in the next verse by saying,
ask and you will get, etc.
LUKE 11:9-10 KJV
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Some translations insert the idea in verse 9 of “keeping on”
asking, seeking, and knocking, but that idea is not from the
Greek New Testament text, but from the Latin translation.
Nothing in this parable gives us any evidence it took a long
time for the request to be granted. Instead of getting the idea
of knocking on a door for several years from this parable, we
should realize Jesus was encouraging us to be bold in asking
for God’s help, especially for others.
So don’t hesitate! Don’t think God is too busy, or the need is
too small or too big for God. Even a human friend will help, if
asked. HOW MUCH MORE will your Heavenly Father who loves you,
and also loves those you want to help.