It’s midnight and Samuel’s been asleep for several hours. His bedroom is silent except for the soft snoring of his children.
In his dream he notices a faint rapping sound growing louder and louder. Suddenly he realizes the rapping isn’t in his dream but is coming from his front door. He throws open his window and calls down to the street. “Who’s there?”
“Samuel, it’s me, Jacob.”
“Jacob, what are you doing bothering me at this time of night? What time is it anyway?”
“Samuel, I’m sorry to bother you, but a friend unexpectedly arrived at my house from a long journey and I have nothing to set before him. Can you lend me three loaves of bread?”
“Jacob, you’re crazy. I can’t get up. My kids are all with me in bed sound asleep. My front door’s locked. Come back tomorrow. I’ll give you something then.”
“Samuel, please. It’ll only take you a minute. Then I’ll be out of your hair. My friend is starving. Please! Help me out here.”
“Jacob! Crazy Jacob! Now I know why your parents named you after that heel grabber. ’I won’t let you go till you bless me’ Jacob. Who am I, an angel? Are you going to wrestle with me till dawn?”
“Samuel. You’re my friend! I would do it for you.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll get you your bread. How’s anybody supposed to get any sleep around here? Next thing you’ll be asking for my inheritance!”
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.
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. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:5-10.
The point of Jesus’ parable is that if persistent asking will overcome even the resistance of an unwilling friend, how much more will persistence in prayer receive good things from a willing generous Father.
We often think delay means God’s reluctant to bless us. But our Father isn’t like the friend who didn’t want to get up at midnight. He’s generous, lavish, and loves to bless his children. He doesn’t say, “Go away, can’t you see I’ve got a universe to run?” He delights to bless us.
So don’t interpret delayed prayers as God being unwilling to bless. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.