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Show a Little Hutzpah!

by J. M. Farro on May 16th, 2021

   “But I tell you, even if he won’t get up because the man is his friend, yet because of the man’s hutzpah he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” Luke 11:8 CJB

   In Chapter 11 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer.  In verse 5, He begins telling them about a man who goes to a friend’s house to ask him for bread for one of his guests.  Because it is midnight, the friend refuses to get out of bed to honor the man’s request.  But this man will not take “no” for an answer.  He keeps after his friend until he relents and honors his petition.  Jesus tells His listeners: “I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” (Luke 11:8 AMP)  I absolutely love the way the Complete Jewish Bible translates the Master’s words here: “But I tell you, even if he won’t get up because the man is his friend, yet because of the man’s hutzpah he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

   I did a word search for “hutzpah,” and discovered that it can mean “brazen boldness, nerve, or audacity.”  This fits with the Amplified translation above using the words “shameless persistence,” which can mean “persisting in the face of all that seemed reasonable, and refusing to take a denial.”  What is Jesus trying to tell us about prayer in this parable?  One Bible commentator says: “This is to be applied to God in no other sense than that He often hears prayers and grants blessings even long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld.  He does not promise to give blessings at once.  He promises only that He will do it, or will answer prayer…  We should go again and again, until the prayer is heard, and God grants what we ask of Him.”

   I can think of occasions when I made petitions to the Lord that seemed for years as though they would never come to pass – the odds against them were so great.  As I look back, I shudder to think of what might have happened if I had quit praying before my answer came.  All that time, I had the audacity to keep coming to the Lord with the same prayer.  Part of me would say, “Maybe it’s just not God’s will.  Maybe I’m just wasting my time and energy.”  Yet another part of me kept saying, “Keep praying!”  Right after Jesus tells this parable, He goes on to say: “So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10 AMP)  What petitions are you at risk of giving up on today?

   Lord, teach me how to pray the prayers of Your heart for myself and others.  Remind me often that delays are not necessarily denials, and that You want me to “keep praying until the answer comes.” (Luke 18:1 TLB)  Thank You for the harvest of blessings that I will reap in the days to come, as I persist in prayer according to Your will and pleasure!

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