Luke 11 Parable

In verses 5-13 we are given a parable that is no where else in the gospels. It directly follows the shorter version of the Lords Prayer and encourages believers to ask God for good things on the behalf of others persistently. In the parable the man goes to his neighbor in the middle of the night begging for bread (3 loaves) for a friend that came to visit and he was unprepared.

this rang true in my heart because I have been praying for an unbeliever and anything I have tried to say falls on deaf ears. I feel I have nothing for Him so I ask my Father to provide what I cannot. I pray for the Bread of Life to share. I pray for very word that proceeds from the mouth of God to be made satisfying to him. I pray for him to see Jesus as that which will satisfy his searching heart. He is certainly on a journey and nothing that I have in my house will feed him so I just keep asking God.

this parable seems very evangelistic to me. Is there another way I should be reading it? is there something i am missing? Just asking for arbitrary things seems silly but praying for the Holy Spirit to touch souls of the lost seems to be the greatest of gifts.

I guess i am just looking for what others may know about this parable. I am not a Bible Scholar, so I am very eager to learn from those who know more.


@Cynthia_Parrish Great question :slight_smile: I think the first thing to understand about Luke 11:1-13 is that Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. Once we recognize this fact, we will realize that even though this story is about a man asking his neighbor for bread to feed a guest, Jesus’ point is not really about helping guests, but instead about how we should pray.

The story about the man asking his neighbor for bread has been interpreted two ways:

  1. The man is boldly and persistently beseeching his neighbor for bread and that is how we ought to pray
  2. In the ancient near east, hospitality was one of the chief virtues. It is possible this man’s neighbor would have been shamed if he did not provide bread, even in the middle of the night. Therefore, in this parable it is possible that God is saying that for His honor He will hear those who pray to Him in earnest and give them the Holy Spirit. I personally favor this interpretation (though godly, intelligent people disagree - see NET Bible note below) because it also agrees with Jesus’ story about a father giving good gifts to his children. The two stories have a common theme; God gives the Holy Spirit because of His own character and He is always faithful and just to do so.

Personally, I would say that this verse summarizes the teaching of 5-13. God gives the Spirit to those who ask.

Luke 11:13 - If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The term ἀναίδεια (anaideia) is hard to translate. It refers to a combination of ideas, a boldness that persists over time, or “audacity,” which comes close. It most likely describes the one making the request, since the unit’s teaching is an exhortation about persistence in prayer. Some translate the term “shamelessness” which is the term’s normal meaning, and apply it to the neighbor as an illustration of God responding for the sake of his honor. But the original question was posed in terms of the first man who makes the request, not of the neighbor, so the teaching underscores the action of the one making the request. NET Bible


Hi @SeanO

I kinda liked and preferred your 2nd version too, as the man ask of his neighbor, so do we pray to our Father.

I think those scholars didn’t like comparing God to an irritable neighbor, who gave only because he was pestered shamelessly.

I think to put it into a slightly more acceptable perspective, derived from verse 13, is: “If a man ask his earthly neighbor shamelessly and the neighbor responded, how much more will our heavenly Father respond to us, when we ask Him shamelessly too.” Borrowing your terms, God will be more honorable than the earthly neighbor in responding to us.