For Someone Else

I’m struck by Andrew Murray’s insight into Luke 11 in his book on intercession. He taught me something I had never noticed before. Consider the passage in verses 5-10:

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Murray discusses this passage in terms of prayer and what it means to ask God for something. We’re the shamelessly audacious believer who begs God for help. God responds. But what I never noticed before is the nature of the request. The person isn’t asking for himself. He’s asking God for nourishment for his travel-weary friend. This story, then, is a picture of intercession: praying for the needs of others. And it seems God cannot resist this kind of prayer. I like the comparison to spiritual bread that we offer others; we don’t have anything to give, but when we ask God to give us spiritual food to nourish others, He responds to make us into the kind of friends who always have something to give others of God.

People around us are weary, hungry, and exhausted. They come to us for help. We have nothing to offer of what they really need–what can only be given from God: spiritual bread. God, give us your food to bless others.

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