Crossroads: The Friend in the Night

Luke 11:5-13

My Story

My favorite word as a child was “why”. I know my mother got tired of me asking “Why?” all the time. I was a very curious child. In fact, as a small child, my mother had a hard time getting me to sleep. She said it seemed as if I always wanted to observe the world, to know what was going on.

As my mother and my friends can attest, I am a curious adult. I always want to know as much as I can about everything. I devour books because I want to know. I cannot turn off the news when disasters happen because I want every detail. And I still continually ask questions. As a result, I have a special place in my heart for those children who continually ask why. In reading this story, I think God does too.

Your Story

Tell your family about a time when you gave up praying for something because God didn’t seem to answer your prayer.
– What happened?

Or tell your family about a time when you made a request from someone even though you knew it was a bad time (or someone else made a request to you when they knew it was a bad time.)
– What did you do?
– What happened?

Bible Story

One of the wonderful things about children is that they don’t take “no” for an answer. Even when you tell them “no,” they always want to know why. Simply saying no isn’t an option. One of the frustrating things about children is that they don’t take no for an answer. In this passage today, Jesus tells the disciples to “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.”(Luke 11:9) God, unlike us at times, does not get frustrated when we continue to ask, when we continue to seek, or when we continue to knock.

In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus tells a story to the disciples about a friend who comes knocking on another friend’s door in the middle of the night. A traveler has just arrived at his door, and he has nothing with which to feed him. Imagine this story—you are asleep in your bed when you hear a knock at the door. It is your next door neighbor, whose best friend has arrived on her doorstep unexpectedly. She’s been traveling all day and she’s hungry. But your next door neighbor hasn’t been grocery shopping and so there is nothing for her to eat. So there your next door neighbor stands, on your doorstep in the middle of the night, hoping you have food. The knock awakens you, but you don’t get up. Another knock comes, followed by a voice, asking you for some bread, so that she can make her friend a sandwich. It’s late and you are tired, so you don’t get up, but tell her that it’s late, you and your family are already in bed, and you can’t give her anything. But she continues knocking, and so you finally get up and give her bread.

God wants us to do the same thing. Jesus says to ask, and to keep on asking; to knock and keep on knocking. Sometimes we feel like God isn’t there, that God just isn’t hearing our prayers. Jesus has an answer for that: be persistent, keep on asking. Our answer from God may be no, or it may be not right now, but God always answers. Jesus goes on to say “Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion?” Jesus’ point was that we, as humans, know how to give good gifts to our children. We know how to treat people kindly and grant their requests, even though we are nowhere near perfect. How much more, then, will God, the Perfect One, give us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we ask? This story teaches us to be bold and persistent in our prayers. We can trust that God will answer our prayers. But we must have faith that God hears us. And sometimes we have to ask why a few times.

Discussion Questions

– Ask your children to think of a time when they kept asking you about something until you finally gave in and got it for them. Do they think you gave it to them because you love them or so they’d stop bugging you?
– Think of a time when you wondered (as a family and as individuals) if God was really listening to your prayers. What happened?

Action

– As you pray this week, take the time as a family to pray to God about an issue weighing on your family. It can be anything (that is appropriate for children).
– Spend time praying boldly, asking God every day to answer your prayer. Talk about what happens (if anything). If it seems as if nothing has happened, talk to your children about trusting that God will answer prayers in some way.

Pray

– Pray for something that is weighing on your family. Continue to pray, asking God to fulfill your request.
– Pray that God will help you (and your family) trust that He will answer your prayers in some way.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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