Luke 11: “Shameless Persistence”

When I was old enough to walk on my own, I used to travel a couple of blocks from my house to Schoen’s Deli. Sitting right next to Peppy’s Pizza, Schoen’s was that quintessential place that had everything a little kid was looking for, and it was by far my favorite place to go.

There was a time in my life that I fell in love with Cow Tales, the candy, not the animal. When I say I fell in love, I mean, I really loved Cow Tales. Since they were only a quarter, there were days when my friends and I would walk to Schoen’s without money and see if we could find at least a quarter along the way. No joke!

I remember the day like it was yesterday… I walked to my favorite store, to get my favorite candy, and the man behind the counter  gave me the most devastating news, “we don’t sell those anymore.” I remember thinking, What? What type of store doesn’t sell Cow Tales? Who do these people think they are? Don’t they know who I am? Well, they did, because the man said, “son, I think you’re the only person who ever bought any.” I guess Cow Tales are an acquired taste… who knew?

Well, in my nine-year-old-ness I decided that I would create a campaign to BRING BACK COW TALES TO SCHOEN’S DELI! It was a small but mighty campaign. I told all my friends to go to Schoen’s each day and ask when they were bringing back Cow Tales. Everyday (except Sundays) for two weeks, I went to the Deli and ask, “Do you have any yet?” How about today? Do you know when you’re getting them in? Needless to say, I was shamelessly persistent.

Out of all the great content in Luke 11, there was one verse that God specifically highlighted for me. Teaching his disciples about Prayer, Jesus includes a story about going to a friends house and asking to borrow three loaves of bread. Here’s the highlights:

  • It’s midnight
  • You have a hungry guest who arrives but nothing to feed them
  • You need three loaves of bread to feed your hungry guest
  • So what do you do? You go to a friends house at midnight and ask if he has three loaves of bread… of course.
  • What if they don’t come to the door and says, “Don’t bother me!”
  • What do you do next?

Luke 11:8-10 (NLT) 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

I love this! You went looking for three loaves of bread, but if you keep knocking long enough, your friend will break down, get up, and give you whatever you need! I just picture a tired person standing at the door offering everything in the kitchen… just stop knocking! That’s not exactly the intention of the story, but it’s fun to think about.


The word “persistence” is worth highlighting in this passage, due to the fact it occurs only here in the entire New Testament. Luke uses the Greek word anaideia, which means both shamelessness and boldness to describe the heart and character of the one knocking.

Knocker or Sleeper?

It’s important to note when referring to this story that because Jesus was teaching his disciples how to pray, his emphasis was on the knocker, and not the sleeper. Jesus didn’t want God to be described as a friend who needs a little coercing to get up, but rather, Jesus wanted the emphasis to be placed on the person knocking.


The more you knock, the more dedication you show, the more intensity you have in your prayer, can only help to change your heart, not the friend’s response. I really like what one commentator wrote:

“By praying persistently, believers are not trying to get a reluctant God to answer their prayers; instead, they are showing that they are very serious about their request.”

 It’s only through prayer that we can stay in contact with God. Jesus encourages his disciples even further through these words.

Luke 11:9-10 (NLT) 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.


What do you need to be shamelessly persistent about today? What do you need to take persistently to God today?


You’re probably wondering how my story ended. Well, the only reason my campaign lasted for two weeks was because the owner went out and bought a package of Cow Tales just for me. However, he wouldn’t give them to me until I agreed to put a cease to my campaign. So, the signs came down, my constituents were contacted, and Schoen’s was officially taken off “notice.”