And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”
Comment: It is the neighbourly thing to do – that is to supply the urgent needs of a friend or a neighbour. Next-door comes and borrows some flour or bread. I remember the first time the people living next to us in the hospital in Arba Minch came to borrow. I felt it was a real step forward in building up our relationship with them. That’s what friends and neighbours are for! There are so many ‘he’s and him’s’ in the following sentence above to make it not easy to understand! The man with unexpected visitors goes to his neighbour’s place but at a very inconvenient hour. And the whole family are in bed together so that if the head of the house were to get up he will disturb everyone and maybe make for a sleepless night. It is impertinent of the man to come. The neighbour no doubt is a bit grumpy but he gets up and gives the requested bread. His friend gets what he needs and wants.
Jesus is teaching about prayer but says if you have a real need ask God about it. Earthly fathers give their kids good things! How much greater is God. There is no way that He’s going to give you harmful things. People are evil but parents give good gifts – you can expect much better from God. But I imagine that if the man who went to his neighbour was asking for something frivolous or selfishly the neighbour would be more likely to throw a bucket of water over the man asking. We are to think in terms of needs much more than selfish wants when we pray.
Prayer: Teach me to pray aright and expectantly, please.