Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight … or her. I’m supposing, and I’m thinking about my best friend, and her response to me if I went to her at midnight… she’d probably respond initially with worry. “What’s wrong!” she ask, with such tender concern. In a hushed voice, so as not to wake her son, who sleeps much softer than the rest of the house. And then her husband would get up and come to the door too, and they’d both be worrying about me, and why I’m knocking on their door at midnight.
I’d say, “Sorry to bother you guys so late at night, but … do you have a loaf of bread, and maybe some cheese?” Immediately, their faces shift from concern to confusion and consternation … “Really?! What for? Why are you even awake and thinking about food? Why’d you come all the way over here for bread AT MIDNIGHT? You’re going to wake up the baby!” And although our voices are low and whispery, from the back room comes the familiar cry of the baby. She rolls her eyes and turns to take care of him, but her husband stands at the door looking at me, trying to figure out how to respond ….
“Why didn’t you just go to Wal-Mart?” He’d ask finally, while turning to go get the bread and cheese. Then he’d hand it to me, and my muttered thanks would fall on a closed door. I’d probably have three seconds to get to the car before the porch light goes off and the house goes quiet again.
That would be weird, right? And she’d call me the next day and expect a full explanation of the night before, and I’d give her the same story, but it wouldn’t satisfy, it’d just be a reason to cover up my shameless audacity. The shameless audacity of someone who needs something so badly, that time isn’t a factor, and fear isn’t either. It is the need, and the filling that matter most.
Jesus gives this illustration to a crowd in Luke 11:5-8, and he points out to the crowd that the friend doesn’t respond because of the friendship, or even the need itself. But because of the shameless audacity of it. The way the asking isn’t necessarily timely or thoughtful, or empathetic. It’s candid, vulnerable, straightforward. Frank. And because it’s midnight, it’s also kinda rude. It’s shameless. Lacking regard for anyone or anything. The need is is so compelling, nothing else matters. And it’s answered because that’s how good, loving people respond to such desperate neediness.
Verse nine says, “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Ask! But be shameless about it. Don’t go before the Lord timid and hesitant. He is good! And because of your shameless audacity, He will answer you. Seek Him! Press in, without propriety. Forget your manners before the Lord and be up front about your need, and your expectations. Lay it out there! And because of your shameless audacity, He will answer you! Knock! That door will open. If for no other reason than your shameless audacity. The one inside will open is because of your persistent knocking. It may seem rude, but hang in there, the door WILL open! Matthew 11:12 says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom if Heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”
Dear friend, there are a lot of good ideas out there when it comes to prayer. But I also believe the Holy Spirit supersedes man’s wisdom, and will lead you in how to pray. Sometimes, we are compelled to kneel before the Lord in reverence and silence, and listen. Sometimes, we are compelled to come before Him in worship until we are led like a new bride into his chambers. And sometimes, no protocol will restrain our need, and we have no other way of going about it but to storm the doors and come before the Lord so boldly. Uncomfortable because we’ve intruded, aware that we’re out of line and begging for mercy even as we plead our case. It’s impudent. It’s dauntless. It’s shameless! But because of our audacity “He will surely get up and give you as much as you need!”
P.S. The above scenario paints a picture of cranky, half-asleep friends … Probably more like me than my friends. My friends are good people.