For a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’”
Prayer enables us to have something for others. When we are reliant on self alone, we usually only have enough for us and maybe enough for others—but only when it is convenient for us. But when people require something from us that does not benefit us, it is difficult to have the provision and sustenance that blesses others. When people’s needs match our supply, we can seem generous. When their need matches our patience, we can seem kind. If someone requires us to open the door for them or someone needs us to respond politely to their service, we might seem kind. But what if someone needs something beyond what we have in the cupboards of our heart?
This is what seems to be the case for this friend. A friend arrives at his house, and he is unprepared. He has no food. No bread. To have nothing for a visiting friend in Jesus’ time was not acceptable—culturally, this was quite unacceptable. So it is no surprise that this friend has a level of desperation that drives him to go looking for bread. He knows that his friend has been traveling for some time, and he knows it is rude of him to not have something for him in his house, upon his arrival. But regardless of this knowledge, he has nothing.
There are many times in our life where we have nothing to give others. We know we need to give them something more, but regardless of this knowledge, we know our provision will run short.
Prayer is the filling of our cupboards. Prayer is knowing that life is not about just fulfilling our own needs but also the needs of others. The lack of prayer in our lives suggests to us that we are comfortable with having only enough love in our hearts for ourselves but not enough for others. But prayer says we need more grace. Prayer says we are willing to knead yeast into the dough and sow seed into the ground. For the yeast and the seed produce more than enough for others in our lives.
May we never be found with nothing for others. But in prayer may we have more than enough love and grace for those who come to us in their time of need.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey