Luke 11:5-13 (NIV) How to Pray – part 2
In Luke’s Gospel our passage for today follows directly after the form of prayer taught by Jesus to his disciples. Thus he taught them not only what they should pray for but what expectation they should have when they prayed.
We could do worse than have this passage before us every time we pray. Jesus is saying, when you pray, pray like verses 1-4 and pray with the understanding taught in the passage we are considering today. It would be hard to find a greater incentive to pray than the encouragement that Jesus gives in these verses.
There is a translation variation in verse 8 that is worth noting. It does not really alter what Jesus taught but gives an insight into the culture of the times and shifts the emphasis from the one asking to the one being asked.
Hospitality was a paramount value. Not to exercise it when called upon to do so would incur shame in the sight of the community. Village communities were not large so everyone would know what was or was not done.
The Greek word translated here as ‘boldness’ or in some translations “persistence” has been the focus of close study. It conveys the idea of “shame” or “being shameful”. Also, while the attitude described by that word has most often been applied to the man coming to seek help they may be applied differently. Here are two different but equally possible translations of that last part of verse 8:
1.”because of your shameless persistence he will get up and give you whatever you need” – referring to the man asking.
2. “because of the prospect of him being shamed, he will get up and give him as much as he needs”- referring to the man being asked
1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NIV) – God’s Purposes Never Fail
This letter to the Thessalonians is being considered in sermons and life groups in our church. It provides lots of material for prayerful private consideration as well.
The two verses that are our focus today draw on the memory of recent events when Paul came to Thessalonica proclaiming the gospel of God in the Lord Jesus.
He reminds them that the electing purpose of God effectually drew them to Him (See 1:4). Their visit did not lack results
He was to them an example that carrying the gospel of Christ can be costly personally as some of them had already experienced themselves (Acts 17:6).
He taught them from his own experience where the will and strength to persevere came from – God himself.
By his commitment to his calling as one set apart for the work of announcing the good news to the Gentiles, he set a powerful example for them to emulate. As he says in other places God was the one enabling him (1 Corinthians 3:10 and 15:10). We must learn to draw on the same resource to do what God would have us do.