When Jesus disciples asked for an example prayer -- like their old teacher John the Baptist gave -- Jesus spoke what's since been called The Lord's Prayer. This example prayer is infinitely insightful and healing. I was struck tonight about what Jesus said AFTER giving this prayer in the gospel of Luke. He shared what some refer to as "The parable of the importunate friend." Importunate meaning "persistent, especially to the point of annoyance or intrusion."
Here's the parable in The Message translation (Luke 11:5-13):
“Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’
7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8 “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
9 “Here’s what I’m saying:
Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”
It's interesting that the parable is not about a friend urgently asking for himself, but for another. Unselfishness is the basis of Christian life. And Jesus, when explaining the meaning of his story, says you will receive 'the Holy Spirit' when asking directly for another's need. I think he assumed that our only need is the Spirit of God, the Life that gives all good. We can beg, and plead -- and stand our ground -- until the door of healing is opened. Divine Love is always ready to open the door to the sincere heart, blessing one and blessing all.