In the World–February 23, 2020

By February 17, 2020 "In the World"

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Subsistence farmers in northern South Africa are suffering a tremendous drought. No rainfall means no water or vegetation with which to keep their few cattle alive. Farmers with herds of 17–20 cattle have lost 10 or more, and unless the situation improves, “we will soon have carcasses of animals strewn all over the place,” says one farmer. The farmers have formed a forum with their neighbors to petition the South African department of agriculture, their last and only hope, for aid. Other areas hit by the drought are receiving government assistance, but so far, not much has come to this area. The farmers have no one else to turn to, so they continue crying out to the government for help.


In our passage today, we hear Jesus’ parable about the friend who comes to a house at midnight, desperate to receive aid in caring for a guest who has arrived unexpectedly. Jesus urges his listeners to persist in prayer the same way the man persisted in requesting help from his neighbor. In Jesus’ command to ask, seek, and knock, we get the picture of someone who fervently explores a variety of approaches to get his friend’s attention and help. Christians are to come to God, their only hope for the relief they need, and to persist in requesting help. If even humans will get up and help their friends, though they don’t want to, how much more will our heavenly Father—who does love to help his children—arise to give them aid?

  1. What’s something you’ve been convinced to do because someone was persistent?
  2. When have you been in a situation in which only one person or group could help you and you desperately needed their help? What did you do?
  3. We know that God knows all our needs, so why does Jesus command us to pray and to be persistent in prayer?

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