With this blog post we’ll begin a multi-week series looking at Jesus’ instructions on praying for others in Luke 11:5…
Luke 11:5 “Imagine that one of you has a neighbor-friend and you go that neighbor-friend in the middle of the night. Imagine saying to that friend, loan me three loaves of bread because another friend of mine on a journey has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”
Here Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer. Jesus has just instructed them how to pray using the words that we now call, “The Lord’s Prayer.” In that prayer, Jesus has just instructed his disciples how to pray for their “daily bread.” To ask God to “give us this day our daily bread” means to ask God to give us what we need to get through the day before us and all that it will bring, including all the pain, sorrow, difficulty, or trauma that we will encounter. (And…for many people in many parts of the world…that prayer is made literally because they do not have the food security that I do, so they pray that God will literally give them enough food to eat for the day.)
Jesus continues to teach the disciples about prayer, now, through this parable about a woman (or man) who is visited in the middle of the night by a friend on a journey in need of food, but the woman (or man) does not have food in her (or his) house to share. Jesus teaches his disciples to not only pray for their own “daily bread,” but to seek to provide “daily bread” (or in the case of the parable – “midnight bread”) to a visiting friend on a journey. Notice here an immediate difference. Jesus is not asking the disciples to simply pray that God will provide their visiting-friend with “midnight bread,” but Jesus is instructing his disciples to be the ones who in fact provide the “midnight bread” to their journeying friend in need.
Just look at the text from Luke 11. Jesus doesn’t say that the woman (or man) who is visited by their journeying friend should go to her (or his) neighbor-friend and ask that they feed the visiting-friend. Instead, Jesus asks the disciples to ask their neighbor-friend to provide them with the necessary “midnight bread” to share so that they might provide the midnight bread for their journeying friend. While Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God to provide their daily bread, Jesus instructs his disciples to be the ones whom God uses to provide “midnight bread” to their journeying friend; a friend who is hungry and in need of relief. In this ways, Jesus is instructing his disciples to not only pray for their journeying-friends in need, but also to pray to God that they (the disciples) might be filled and equipped to be the answer to their prayers for their journeying-friends.
More to come next time…