Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Uncivilized Prayer

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

The idea of a friend knocking on the door of a friend at midnight is fairly alien to most Westerners - I think that we all feel a bit too "civilized" to do something like that. Perhaps that is one of the messages in this passage? Perhaps some prayers are not answered because we are simply not desperate enough to ask God for something in an uncomfortable manner? Perhaps our prayers sometimes go unanswered because we do not put ourselves on the line?

I am reminded of a day in March of 1990 - my first wife Ellen had a heart attack and kidney failure at age 39 and she was in intensive care at our neighborhood hospital - things were tense in her room and she was not breathing strong enough to get oxygen to her extremities. As the doctors began to prep her for a ventilator I told them all that I wanted to pray first. They stopped what they were doing and I cried aloud an awkward prayer of desperation.. and her oxygen levels increased.. and a ventilator was not needed. I believe that God heard my desperate cry for help.

Help us Lord to embrace a style of prayer that makes us feel a bit uncomfortable.


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