Coming just after the visit with Mary and Martha, this gospel begins with Jesus again at prayer. Luke, more than any other evangelist, stresses the importance of prayer in Jesus’ life.
Prayer according to this passage is not primarily about getting things from God but rather about the relationship we have with God. God is addressed simply as ‘Father’ an intimate address used by Jesus.
In the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples He offers the opportunity to approach God as a child going to their parent for both provision and forgiveness.
Jesus continues to teach his disciples about how to talk to God by telling a parable. Hospitality was very important in ancient near eastern society. Verse 8 is the point of the parable: “I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.” The friend will get up, not because they are friends, but because of this man’s persistence.
We are told to “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” To keep asking and seeking and knocking is to understand persistence in prayer. An earthly father will give to his child what s/he ask. God is our Father; He hears our prays and takes them seriously. Our heavenly Father will give so much more to those who ask – “the Holy Spirit”.
Joanne McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville and a Passionist Companion.