Luke 11:5–13 (ESV) “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, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 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’? 8 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. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
As with so much of Scripture, the concepts being advanced are not techniques or methods, they are instead telling us something about God Himself. This passage is not as much about prayer as an activity as it is about the God who answers prayer.
First then, the idea here isn’t that we can badger God into giving us what we want through wearing Him down. Rather that we need to see God as our only provider and keep our focus upon trusting Him as opposed to other avenues, and seeking His remedies. He is not reluctant even when a friend might be.
Then secondly, we note that God’s answers are good, whether we receive them precisely as we would wish or not. Again, He can be trusted. He will not give us ill fitting answers for our needs, but answer appropriately always.
Note third in these examples that they are not a flippant asking, but an asking out of a sense of genuine need. We may well “ask” for the Holy Spirit out of rote, out of habit, out a sense of ‘this is the way to do it’ – but the answer comes only when we are aware of our deep need.
And lastly, note that above all of our other needs – our desperate need of being wholly under the sway of God’s Holy Spirit tops the list. He, The Spirit, is the one who makes known to us all of the riches we have in Christ Jesus. And what more can we really need than that? Thus it is the Apostle Paul prays: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:16–21)
Heavenly Father, tho I loathe the feeling in the natural man, make me one who keenly feels my need of your Spirit, that I may plead rightly and earnestly for Him and His power, and not mater-of-factly or flippantly. In truth, I fear that. I hate the feeling of it. But it is so precious in the end. Lead me beyond myself and to your throne for your name’s sake. For your people’s sake. For the glory of Christ.