The occasion of this parable is directly following Jesus' teaching on prayer. It is given to illustrate the character of God. We must be careful not to become confused with what is being said here.
Here God is not to be compared with the sleeping friend, but this parable is a contrast. If a sleeping neighbor will (on the basis of friendship and etiquette) meet the needs of a friend. Then how much more will your Heavenly Father meet the needs of His children.
This is illustrated by three principles in the remaining verses.
I. The Principle of Persistence.
A. Ask, Seek, and Knock
1. These words speak the importance of persistence in prayer.
2. There is no secret formula for getting whatever you want here.
3. It is not that we are nagging or begging God until He reluctantly answers our prayers.
B. God uses delays to deepen our dependence upon Him.
1. Prayer involves seeing ourselves as needy people without the resources to meet our needs.
2. We will not continue to ask if we do not really feel a need or if we believe we can do it on our own.
3. When we recognize that God alone can supply what we lack, we will seek, ask, and knock persistently.
C. The Basis of God's answers is His character.
1. God does not answer our prayers because we are persistent!
2. We should be persistent because God answers our prayers.
3. God is a loving God who has committed Himself to us.
II. The Principle of Confidence.
A. No blank check.
1. One might misunderstand v10 to mean that we will get whatever we ask for.
2. We know that isn't true.
3. All of us have prayed and not received that for which we have asked.
4. Perhaps even more significant is that there have been things that we have prayed for that, in retrospect, we shouldn't have asked.
5. God is not a servant who answers to every whim of His spoiled children.
B. God gives us what we need, not what we want.
1. We can trust Him to do so because He is infinitely wiser that we are.
2. We can be confident that He will act with our best interests at heart.
C. The contrast is made again in v11-13.
1. As a human father I am not perfect, but I do seek to do what is best for my children.
2. If we as human fathers can give good gifts to our children...
3. "How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" cf Mt. 7:11
4. Luke says, "...How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"
5. The good gift that the Father gives is the Holy Spirit...it is He for which we should ask, seek, and knock.
6. What does this mean?
III. The Principle of Assistance.
A. The Holy Spirit is the gift for which we should be praying.
1. Note Paul's prayer for the believers in Ephesus. cf Ep. 1:15-17
2. The Spirit of God ministers to us.
3. He strengthens us. cf Ep. 3:16
B. We need His help and assistance.
1. That doesn't mean we shouldn't pray for our daily bread and such things.
2. But more important than those is the strengthening ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We should pray boldly, and confidently with the realization that we need the strengthening ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives more than the material things. cf Mt. 6:8