Right after the Lord's Prayer Jesus tells us a story. It's about a man who has an unexpected friend come to his home late at night and he has nothing to give to him to eat. Nothing. So the host has an inspired idea to go to his friend the neighbor and ask for bread. The neighbor responds by saying that he and his household are in bed and tells the man to go away. And the man does not go away but he is very persistent and does get the bread that he needs for his guest.
Since it is late at night, the host returns quietly home with something to eat for his guest. He's grateful to Heavenly Father! He's been successful because of his persistence. From this important story Jesus highlights the characteristic of persistence that is within all of us! While others are tempted to give up and go home empty handed, Jesus tells us that we are the persistent ones! And now Jesus relates this story to how we speak with our Heavenly Father in prayer.
Be persistent with Heavenly Father, Jesus emphasizes. Why does Jesus tell us to be persistent in prayer? As we ask a second time we are expecting more. Then when we ask a third time we become sure the Heavenly Father is just about to answer. And as we ask a fourth time then our will is blended with Heavenly Father's will and our asking takes the form of looking forward to what God will do.
God can do anything. God has no limitations. God has ways that are not our ways and what Heavenly Father will do in response to our prayer-asking is going to be marvelously more then we ever imagined! We ask a fifth time and the Holy Spirit puts us on First Watch for God's unfolding events that show us once again that Heavenly Father loves us, cares with the best care we can ever imagine, and Heavenly Father's timing is always right.
So Jesus says, pray this prayer like I Am praying right now (the Lord's Prayer, Luke 11) and then ask persistently. We shall; Jesus has said to do this. What a marvelous Savior we have that would show us how to ask persistently for the needs of others. Jesus Christ saves us from praying as a weakling and transforms us into praying purposefully with the strength of persistence!
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.