And he said unto them - Jesus proceeds to show that, in order to obtain the blessing, it was necessary to “persevere” in asking for it. For this purpose he introduces the case of a friend‘s asking bread of another for one who had come to him unexpectedly. His design is solely to show the necessity of being “importunate” or persevering in prayer to God.
At midnight - A time when it would be most inconvenient for his friend to help him; an hour when he would naturally be in bed and his house shut.
Three loaves - There is nothing particularly denoted by the number “three” in this place. Jesus often threw in such particulars merely to fill up the story, or to preserve the consistency of it.
My children are with me in bed - This does not necessarily mean that they were in the “same bed” with him, but that they were “all” in bed, the house was still, the door was shut, and it was troublesome for him to rise at that time of night to accommodate him. It should be observed, however, that the customs of Orientals differ in this respect from our own. Among them it is not uncommon indeed it is the common practice for a whole family - parents, children, and servants - to sleep in the same room. See “The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 180. This is “not” to be applied to God, as if it were troublesome to him to be sought unto, or as if “he” would ever reply to a sinner in that manner. All that is to be applied to God in this parable is simply that it is proper to “persevere” in prayer. As a “man” often gives because the request is “repeated,” and as one is not discouraged because the favor that he asks of his neighbor is “delayed,” so God often answers us after long and importunate requests.
Christ's disciples were much impressed by His prayers and by His habit of communion with God. One day after a short absence from their Lord, they found Him absorbed in supplication. Seeming unconscious of their presence, He continued praying aloud. The hearts of the disciples were deeply moved. As He ceased praying, they exclaimed, “Lord, teach us to pray.” COL 140.1
In answer, Christ repeated the Lord's prayer, as He had given it in the sermon on the mount. Then in a parable He illustrated the lesson He desired to teach them. COL 140.2
“Which of you,” He said, “shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 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. 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.” COL 140.3Read in context »
In praying for the sick, it is essential to have faith; for it is in accordance with the word of God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. So we cannot discard praying for the sick, and we should feel very sad if we could not have the privilege of approaching God, to lay before Him all our weaknesses and our infirmities, to tell the compassionate Saviour all about these things, believing that He hears our petitions. Sometimes answers to our prayers come immediately; sometimes we have to wait patiently and continue earnestly to plead for the things that we need, our cases being illustrated by the case of the importunate solicitor for bread. “Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight,” etc. This lesson means more than we can imagine. We are to keep on asking, even if we do not realize the immediate response to our prayers. “I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Luke 11:9, 10. CH 380.1Read in context »
Has the injunction of the apostle no force in this age: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”? I am daily pained with exhibitions of selfishness among our people. There is an alarming absence of love and care for those who are entitled to it. Our heavenly Father lays blessings disguised in our pathway, but some will not touch these for fear they will detract from their enjoyment. Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of doing good—waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may bless us. The Lord Himself has made us to differ,—some poor, some rich, some afflicted,—that all may have an opportunity to develop character. The poor are purposely permitted to be thus of God, that we may be tested and proved, and develop what is in our hearts. 2T 28.1
I have heard many excuse themselves from inviting to their homes and hearts the saints of God. “Why, I have nothing prepared, I have nothing cooked; they must go to some other place.” And at that place there may be some other excuse invented for not receiving those who need hospitality, and the feelings of the visitors are deeply grieved, and they leave with unpleasant impressions in regard to the hospitality of these professed brethren and sisters. If you have no bread, sister, imitate the case brought to view in the Bible. Go to your neighbor and say: “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” We have not an example of this lack of bread ever being made an excuse to refuse entrance to an applicant. When Elijah came to the widow of Sarepta, she shared her morsel with the prophet of God, and he wrought a miracle, and caused that in that act of making a home for his servant, and sharing her morsel with him, she herself was sustained, and her life and that of her son preserved. Thus will it prove in the case of many, if they do this cheerfully, for the glory of God. 2T 28.2
Some plead their poor health—they would love to do if they had strength. Such have so long shut themselves up to themselves, and thought so much of their own poor feelings, and talked so much of their sufferings, trials, and afflictions, that it is their present truth. They can think of no one but self, however much others may be in need of sympathy and assistance. You who are suffering with poor health, there is a remedy for you. If thou clothe the naked, and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house, and deal thy bread to the hungry, “then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily.” Doing good is an excellent remedy for disease. Those who engage in the work are invited to call upon God, and He has pledged Himself to answer them. Their soul shall be satisfied in drought, and they shall be like a watered garden, whose waters fail not. 2T 29.1Read in context »