The Importunate Neighbor

Luke 11:5-13  And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I.    I believe this is a parable.

A.  This illustration is very much like the parable given in Luke 18 - the importunate widow.

1.   The parable of Luke 18 and this parable is different.

2.   Sometimes the same story or parable is given in different books, therefore, they could be the same story or parable, but show a little different turn of thought or application.

B.   This illustration is not called a parable, but it fits the qualifications of a parable.

1.   A parable is a real life story which illustrates a greater and hidden truth.

2.   The story before us could very well be real, and it illustrates a greater and hidden truth about praying.

3.   Praying is real praying when it comes from the heart, not the head or the mouth.


II.   The object of this parable.

A.  The subject is praying, as given in verse 1-4.

B.   The overall teaching is that praying is more than just repeating a series of words, or repeating words that reveal proper principles.

1.   In verse 1-4 Christ illustrates the words and principles of praying.

2.   In verse 5-8 Christ illustrates the desperateness or the barefaceness of effectual praying.

3.   In verse 9-13 Christ illustrates the love of God in answering our praying when we are really praying and not just saying words or repeating the principles of praying.


III. The principles of praying as shown in verse 1-4 are:

A.  Recognize God as our spiritual Father, and where He is.

B.   Recognize that God is holy.

C.   Recognize that God has a future kingdom.

1.   By recognizing that God has a future kingdom, we are also recognizing that God has a present kingdom.

2.   If we are allowing Him to rule in our hearts now, we will be looking forward to reigning with Him in His future kingdom.

D.  Recognize that God’s will (will of purpose) is best for all.

1.   God’s will of command doesn’t have to be followed by God’s children, but there is judgment awaiting the disobedient.

2.   Our lives will flow much smoother if we will submit ourselves to God’s will of command.

E.   Recognize that God supplies our necessities daily.  (This is a different thought from saying that God supplies our daily necessities.)

1.   As we need them.

2.   Often necessities aren’t supplied ahead of time, but they will be supplied “on time.”

F.   Recognize that God can and will forgive sins.

1.   Luke 11:4 - He will only forgive our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.

2.   This shows us that we ought to be like Christ in forgiveness.

G.   Recognize that God is able to direct our lives around temptations and trials.

1.   Christians should not believe in fatalism.

2.   We should so live our lives that God won’t have to chastise us with allowing us to fall into temptations and trials.


IV. The “attitude” of praying is shown in verse 5-13.

A.  Notice the situation the person finds themselves in.

1.   A friend has come to them at midnight - a very inopportune (unseasonable) time.

a)   In that culture, as well as in our culture, it is that the host would feed and shelter their friend.

b)   Also in that culture, as well as in our culture, shopping was done daily, not weekly or monthly.

c)   Since the shopping hadn’t been done, the host didn’t have anything to feed his guests.

d)   The host didn’t want to embarrass himself, or his guests, by admitting he didn’t have provision.

e)   This is a very embarrassing situation, and the only solution is to find someone to give him food because the market is closed.

2.   I believe it is important to notice that the host isn’t asking for himself, but for another.

a)   It is also true that the host is asking so he won’t be embarrassed.

b)   Often a large part of our prayers involve asking for ourselves.

c)   It isn’t wrong to ask for ourselves, but if that is all our praying is, it is, at the very best, selfish praying.

B.   Notice the word “friend” in verse 5,6, and 8.

1.   A friend of Christ is a person that is close to Christ - a person that is saved.

a)   Matt. 11:19 - The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.  This word “friend” means one who associates freely and familiarly with others.

b)     Matt. 26:50 - Christ called Judas Iscariot “friend,” which means companion, partner, or mate.

c)     Christ is placing Judas in the same category as the publicans and sinners because he was lost and many of the publicans and sinners were also lost.

d)     Christ called Judas “friend” because he had been His companion during the three years of His ministry.

e)   Luke 12:4 - Christ instructed His friends to not be afraid of those that can kill the body, but to be very afraid of those than can destroy both soul and body in hell.

C.   It is very important to notice that the request isn’t answered because of friendship, but because of his importunity - his barefaceness.

1.   This is a very important principle of praying - one that is often overlooked.

a)   A person can be a friend of Christ and still not have his prayers answered.

b)   Christ does not supply the necessities of life simply because we are his friends - His children.

(1)  He will supply our necessities when we earnestly pray, asking Him to supply our necessities.

(2)  Most of the time, we don’t pray, we just repeat words.

(3)  There is no earnestness in our requests - we believe we can hold out a little longer.

(4)  We must pray believing that God is absolutely the only one that can help us - there is no help anywhere else.

D.  If we desire things of God, let us bare our hearts before him, then He will bless us with His blessings.  Verse 8 - The word “importunate” means shamelessness, or impudence.

1.   God will hear our prayers, if we pray earnestly that He might bless us.

2.   Most of the time we ask once and say that is enough.

3.   We ask once because the burden is not very great, and asking once relieves that burden.

4.   I pray that God may give us burdens that won’t go away by praying once.

5.   We ought to cry day and night for deliverance from God.

6.   God will avenge his own elect – Luke 18:7,8.

7.   But when the time comes that Christ will return, will He find people praying to Him for deliverance?  Luke 18:8.

8.   Keep on asking - Matt. 7:7, Luke 11:9.


V.  Luke 11:9-13 speaks of the persistence of proper praying.  These verses are referenced to Matthew 7:7-12.

A.  Verse 9-10 speaks of perseverance.

1.   Ask – because nothing is happening.

a)   Sometimes we believe that God knows everything, and He knows what we need, therefore there is no reason to ask because if He wants us to have a thing, He will provide it for us.

b)   The truth is that even though God knows what we have need of, He will not give it to us, unless we ask - and ask diligently and fervently.

2.   Seek – because you do not have.

a)   The answer to your prayer won’t be handed to you, you must search for it.

b)   Sometimes, we are so persuaded of God’s predestination that there is no need to seek.

3.   Knock – because the door is closed.

a)   The door will be closed!  The door is closed!

b)   Every door (of opportunity, of service, of faithfulness, of helping others, etc.,) is closed.

c)   We must knock before that door will be opened to us.

d)   It is not us (or the eloquence of our prayer) that opens the door.

1)   Our responsibility is to knock, and when the door is opened, we can proceed.

2)   We are not to “knock the door down,” but we are to “rattle the doorknob.”

4.   Just because another person has asked, sought, and knocked - and the prayer answered, doesn’t mean it will be the same for us.

a)   Every person must do his own asking, seeking, and knocking.

b)   You can’t do it for anybody else, and nobody else can do it for you.

B.   Verse 11-13 speaks of the faithfulness of God in giving us the proper answer.

1.   Men, who are evil sinners, know the difference between a good gift and a bad gift.

a)   It should be noted in these verses that specific things are prayed for.

b)   This is the exact opposite of praying that God save sinners, but not naming the sinners we have in mind for God to save.

c)   This is the exact opposite of praying that God heal the sick, but not naming the sick we want God to heal.

d)   This is the exact opposite of praying for God’s blessings, but not naming the blessing we want from God.

e)   Many times God doesn’t answer our prayers because we don’t ask for specific things.

2.   God, who is greater and better than all men, knows more than any man how to give good gifts.

a)   God will not give a stone to eat when we have asked for bread.

b)   God will not give a serpent if we have asked for a fish.

c)   God will not give a scorpion if we have asked for an egg.