John Sheasby gave a great sermon on our privilege as being sons rather than friends. Luke 11 says,
“5 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; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 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.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your persistence he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 9 “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. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”
So now let me ask you a question. Are you the friend on the outside having to persist in asking to receive gifts from God or are you one of the children in bed with your father? The friend must persist to receive. The child simply has to ask. I have heard this passage taught as, “You must persist in prayer! If you don’t persist and give up God won’t hear you.” It seems there is a certain number of times you must pray in order for your prayer to be answered. Let me ask you another question. How many times do you think you must pray in order to be heard?
People pray for the same thing over and over because they think God did not hear them the first time. God does not neglect the prayer for the righteous. He is not deaf, he will answer their prayers. Jesus’s point in this passage was not to say there is a certain number of times you must pray in order for God to hear you. What he is saying is that, if the evil man who cares nothing for the asker will grant him his request because of persistence, how much more so will the good father, who cares deeply for you, grant your request. Even if God didn’t care for you or your prayer He would still answer your request just to get you to stop bugging Him. Jesus is trying to give the people confidence that God will answer their prayer, not to tell them He won’t.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” (Matthew 6:7).