Parable of the Friend in Need – Sermon Application #1
In Sunday’s sermon we studied one of two parables about the power and necessity of persevering prayer: the parable of the friend in need (Luke 11:5-13). In the parable, the friend presenting the need recognized his inability to provide his guest with a meal, but instead of resolving to offer nothing, he was compelled to plead with his neighbor for help.
Prayer application 1
In the culture of the time, it was common for people to travel by night and rest by day. Consequently, people would often have late night guests and it was customary that a good meal be provided. Just as in the parable, God brings people into our lives with needs that we ourselves cannot fulfill. Pastor Vradenburgh explained that while God expects us to pray for our own needs, the “true glory of prayer” is intercession for the needs of others.
Reflect on your own prayer life. Have you graduated from self-focused prayer to others-focused prayer? Consider that the apostle Paul not only prayed for believers he knew (1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:16; Php. 1:3-4), but also those whom he hadn’t met yet (Rom. 1:8-12). Furthermore, Paul’s prayers were focused on spiritual growth (Eph. 1:15-12, 3:14-19; Php. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-12, 4:12; 2 Thess. 1:11-12). Take some time to look over Paul’s prayers and then emulate his example by praying for the needs of others.
Prayer application 2
The single greatest need that people have is to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (compare Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-19, 23; Eph. 2:1-3 with 2 Cor. 5:11-21). Knowing that our acquaintances and friends need Jesus, we should recognize that God has brought these people into our lives and that He expects us to be instruments which He can use (Matt. 28:19-20; Mar. 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:20; Matt. 5:13-16).
We have no ability to bring them to Christ in our own power (compare Jhn. 15:5 and Php. 4:13), and that realization should compel us to ask God for the opportunity, the wisdom, and the boldness to speak the truth of the Gospel in love (Col. 4:3-4; Jas. 1:5; Act. 4:29).
Application to the Christian mind
When we encounter people with needs, we are inclined to reason from our own natural strengths and abilities (Num. 11:21-23; 2 Kings 4:42-44; Mark 6:37; Matt. 8:4, 15:33; Luke 9:13). In this way, we are quickly overwhelmed by the needs that we cannot meet and so conclude that we can do nothing. But when we bring God into the equation, we realize that, if we have a heart to help others, God will give us what we need and use us as His instruments (1 Kings 17:8-16, 18:4; Php. 4:19; 2 Cor. 9:8). There is no overwhelming need to a God of overwhelming power!
On the other hand, if we have some knowledge, skill, or other means to help, we are inclined to believe that we can solve the problem without God (compare 2 Chron. 14:9-15 with 2 Chron. 16:1-9). But when we realize that our sufficiency is not of ourselves, we will always depend on the Lord regardless of what means we have (2 Cor. 3:5; Ps. 127:1).