I was reading over Luke 11 and drew some comfort from the illustration Jesus gave his disciples in verses 5-13. I am in a season of "keep on asking." Until recently, I did not completely understand this little passage of Scripture. My focus has always been on 9-13 and the rest just was, well you know, fill-in. (Not good hermenutics I know!) Anyway, verses 5-8 are really what I want to concentrate on today because they give tremendous hope and encouragement for anyone who is in a season of waiting on God.
I think often we believe we are to be so timid in our prayer life, thinking we are bothering God with our puny requests for health or provision. We tiptoe into His presence and gently tap Him on the shoulder with a quiet, "excuse me, but can I bother you just one little second?" and then we rush to share our need or sorrow and run out the door. When God tarries long in answering our prayer we figure He is not interested or maybe He is just sick of hearing about this thing we want to bring up every day. We further infer that God knows about our need or desire so there is no need to keep on praying about it and we move on in prayer- but not in heart.
In the heart we continue to wait on God often becoming angry and even resentful that He is not answering prayer, and we wrongly assume He has filed our request away someplace under "ignore." This brings great and deep discouragement to the Believer and can lead to feelings of depression.
Back to our illustration from Luke. The man at the door at midnight presented himself with what you and I might consider an outrageous request at midnight. He came for a handout of bread. I suppose in our culture, it would be like showing up at 2:30am needing something. The man in the house was not happy his neighbor showed up at that hour, it must has disrupted his entire household! He told him to just get lost but that neighbor was very persistent! He kept on asking and the Scripture says, "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs."
What we are to take away from this illustration and how you can help someone who is discouraged is to remind them that our prayer life is to be one of persistence and boldness. Like that man at midnight at his neighbors door, and like the small child who yanks on your shirt tails with a book and says, "pleasemommypleasemommypleasemommyplease" while you are trying to wash dishes, we are to persist in asking God for what we need and what we desire in our lives.