Knock, Knock, Knock
Luke 11:1-13

Have any of you ever watched the television series “The Big Bang Theory”?  I ignored it for a long time because it quite simply annoyed me.  Then as I watched it by default a few times I got to know the characters better and the humour started to get through.  I want to share a series of scenes from the show that I think are funny, but also give us a slightly different angle on our text for today.

Play scenes -

Now you may have gathered from that short burst that Sheldon is a bit of an eccentric and somewhat annoying character.  At the beginning we see him doing the “knock knock knock Penny” thing that progresses throughout the series and is drawn on time and time again.  In that montage we finish up with his surprise at having someone respond and in fact take over the gag when Penny opens the door, or just knocks back from the inside.

It may show obsessive compulsiveness, but it also shows persistence, he continues until the door is opened to him.  That’s the kind of persistence that Jesus was describing in the parable.  If you have a friend and go and knock on his door in the middle of the night and ask him for something, would you persist or would you just walk away?

I am the kind of person who will knock on a door and quietly sneak away if no one answers after the first or second knock.  I don’t like to disturb people.  What would you do, would you persist?  How many times would you knock, especially if the person on the inside told you to go away? 

By using this parable Jesus is encouraging the disciples to persist in prayer.  If they don’t get a response, ask again.  It is similar to the story of the persistent widow and the judge, she persisted until she got a result.  In our reading today though, Jesus had just answered the disciples request to teach them how to pray, then he follows with this parable that explains how much to pray.  My interpretation is that we should continue to pray, over and over and over again.

We may not get the response that we are after, but we will get a response.  As we heard, “everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks the door will be opened.”  And even if the response is not what we are after we will not receive what is against God’s will, “ Is there any among you who, if your child asks for a fish will give a snake instead of a fish?”  We are God’s children, and he will give to us what we NEED.  Not necessarily what we want, but definitely what we need.

You may have also noticed in this parable that the friend who goes knocking on the door at midnight isn’t asking for something for himself.  He is going and asking his next door neighbour for food for a friend, so that he can show him hospitality.  The neighbour doesn’t seem too fussed about that initially but eventually gives in and grants the request, and gives him what he needs.

The man’s friend was a stranger in town; he had no way of asking for himself, so the one who had the relationship with the neighbour did the asking.  You’ve all done something like that haven’t you?  You know what I mean; you are after a special deal on something, mate’s rates, so you ask a friend to organise with another friend for you to get a special deal.  It’s all about knowing someone who knows someone.  It works for all sorts of things, from getting a cheap set of tyres for your car through to finding a house or getting a job.

How many people do you know that don’t know God or how to pray for themselves.  They probably aren’t going to ask you for mate’s rates, although that has happened to me, but there are opportunities we have to witness to non-Christians by offering to pray for them.  This is a different sort of hospitality than what we’ve been talking about up until now as part of hospitality month but an important aspect of it that shouldn’t be ignored.  How much more important is it for those of us who have the ear of God to share the needs and concerns of those who don’t. 

Eventually it would be great if we could teach them the Lord’s prayer and explain to them that persistent prayer is important and that God will listen to them too, but without having the initial relationship, that connection that many of us take for granted how will it ever happen?

We’ve just recommenced a prayer chain here at OELC and some people have taken advantage of it.  I also know that there are some special ladies as part of a Bible study group who have started sending out cards to people that they have prayed for to let them know that their needs are being put before the Lord.  I know that because I received a card in the mail the other day, (thanks by the way)!  If we can do things like this for our fellow Christians, eventually we may “Step out of the boat” and get our feet wet by doing the same for other friends and acquaintances and showing them that we care for them and give them a connection to the Lord.  Who knows what may come from that.

Then there are those who may want or need to pray but they are in a situation that prevents them from being able to.  We who are able to pray on their behalf have an opportunity to serve them through prayer.

I encourage all of you to be persistent in prayer, keep knocking on the Lord’s door, no matter how frustrated you get because the answer you seek may not be coming, keep persevering, ask for the Holy Spirit to help you discern what the answer is, give God time to speak and you may well hear.  Knock knock knock, God, Knock knock knock, God, Knock knock knock God…