A parable of persistence

Reprinted from the June 23, 1962, Sentinel

Christ Jesus taught the need of persistence in prayer. One means he used for this teaching was the parable, the homely tale from which a moral or a spiritual lesson may be taken. The parable of the friend at midnight directly follows the momentous statement of the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gave his disciples in response to their appeal (Luke 11:1), “Lord, teach us to pray.” Evidently, prayer is to be persisted in until it is answered.

In this particular parable the leading character, representing one who prays, goes to a friend at midnight and asks that he lend him three loaves. A guest has arrived, and the host has nothing to give him to eat. The one “within” refuses at first, saying, “Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”

Jesus brought home the point of persistence by saying that although the friend would not rise and give the suppliant the loaves because of friendship, yet because of the other’s importunity he rose and gave him as many loaves as he needed—perhaps implying also the great generosity of God, who gives more than we ask for.

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