Knocking on a Friend’s Door: “Here you go, since you persisted in waking up all of my children to give you bread. Now go home and quit bothering us.” -A paraphrase.
Today’s Gospel begins with the parable of a man who at midnight goes to a friend seeking bread loaves to feed a traveler who arrived late from a journey. The man is so persistent that the friend, after vigorously objecting, will eventually get up to give him food -if not from friendship, then from his persistence.
This account reminds me also of the widow that drove the unjust judge crazy seeking mercy and protection from the adversary she fears. There, in Lk 18:1-8, the judge relents so she will finally go away.
— But is this the heart of God when we persist in our “unanswered” requests repeatedly? Here you go, now go away?
The Lord’s assurance
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
— But is this our experience?
Or is it that ‘we can’t always get what we want, but if we try real hard, … we get what we need!’ (Mick Jagger, 1969)
The Divine affirmation
“If you… wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Jesus is emphasizing that we do not give up easily when we pray. Just as the man persisted in seeking bread for a friend and obtained it, so we must persist. Why? For sure it demonstrates our dependence on God. Prayer is already a gift; in that it indicates the existence of a relationship with Our Father in heaven.
Sometimes God delays for us, so we ask others to also pray for the same intention, so that He can not only bless the many, but encourage communal interdependence in His mystical Body.
I have heard it say that God never says NO to prayer. Instead God answers prayers in one of three ways: “Yes;” “Not yet;” or, “I have a better plan.”
In my prayer experience, I have seen many Yes responses – some approaching the miraculous. I have also seen that my prayer was answered much later, sometimes years after I had hoped. Looking back with new circumstances evident, I have seen the wisdom and been grateful for the delay.
Finally, and perhaps the one that requires the greatest expression of the virtue of hope and dependence on the wisdom of God, is the acknowledgment that had my prayer been answered as I had formulated it, things would have turned out badly. I had requested a want, and God knew that it was not what I needed. He had a better plan.
Maybe Mick Jagger has it right – I don’t always get what I want, but I do get what I need. And when I persist in asking for the wrong things, it is very helpful that “I can’t get no satisfaction.”