Imagine the situation: you are traveling through ancient Palestine and arrive in a village far later at night than you had planned. No inns are open here, and your empty stomach sinks as you realize the only option left is knocking on the door of an old friend.
You know the culture, which dictates that it would be extremely rude and inhospitable not to welcome a guest. But that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. You arrive at his house close to midnight and pause. Like most families of this time, they live in a one-room house. Knocking on the door means disturbing not just your friend, but his wife and children; they could be up until sunrise settling the children down again! You hesitate, weighing the awkwardness of imposing yourself against the exasperation your friend will show. Finally, in all your boldness, you knock.
Many of us experience a strong social instinct to be “low maintenance,” to avoid ruffling feathers or putting undue pressure on those around us. We want to love people, not burden them. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that we should have no such hesitation in our relationship with God. The guest, pestering his friend, is our model of unembarrassed petition. And when his request is not immediately granted, he is not discouraged but continues “pestering.” This parable shows us that, not only are we to “bother” God constantly with prayer, but he urges us to. Our heavenly Father loves nothing more than hearing his children’s petitions. So don’t hold back from asking big things from God because you think you’re asking for too much. Just keep on knocking!