The other night we read Luke 11:1-13 as a family. Now, to be perfectly honest this passage of Scripture has always eluded me. For those of you who get this text right away, forgive my thick-head. Even still, I didn’t get it. Fortunately, I have children who think better than I do. “Daddy, what does impudence mean?” My thought was that it meant being a jerk, or disrespectful, or insubordinate. So much for my vocabulary skills. I grabbed my trusty iPod Touch and ran the Dictionary app. Impudence means “the quality or state of being impudent.” Not so helpful. With a little more searching I found the following definitions: lack of modesty, shamelessness, characterized by impertinence or effrontery, barefaced audacity.
Now we were getting somewhere. So, the friend that came to the door at midnight and knocked was not being insubordinate, or even simply disrespectful. Instead, he was acting with barefaced audacity. He was shameless in his knocking at midnight. He was causing a scene, and seemed willing to risk anger and embarrassment in order to get what he wanted.
Jesus draws the conclusion in Luke 11:9, “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” In other words, it seems that Jesus is telling his disciples that they should pray with impudence. They should pray with barefaced audacity.
The implications from this are shocking. We are sinners. We are creatures. God is creator. And we are to pray to our creator with boldfaced audacity. Stunning! Similar passages that come to mind are the persistent woman (Luke 18:1-8) and entering the throne room with boldness (Heb 4:16).
What should the disciples (and by extension us) pray for? Luke 11:13 gives us a clue. The Father will freely give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Our salvation and intimacy with God himself will be freely given to those who pray with impudence.