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The Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Friend at Midnight

Jan 11, 2024 | Sunday School Solutions

by Emily Hechler

Without prayer, we won’t grow in our walk with God. As adults, it can be hard to pray when we feel like we aren’t getting answers to our prayers. But we also know that God does answer prayer and walks through difficult situations with us. Kids don’t have as much life experience as adults do. When they are asked to pray, they can feel discouraged because they may not see the effects of their prayers or how God answers them. Maybe they don’t know how to pray. Jesus addressed this same issue with His disciples and used a parable to reinforce the truth.

After Jesus told the disciples how to pray, He told them a parable to reinforce how to pray. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and tell the same parable. Read the parable of the friend at midnight, or the parable of the persistent neighbor, from Luke 11:5-13.

In the parable, a man had a friend that was visiting while on a long journey. The man wanted to feed his guest, but he had no food. The man went to his neighbor’s house at midnight and asked for bread to serve the guest. At first, the neighbor didn’t want to give away any food. But the man kept knocking on the door and asking for bread. The neighbor got back up and gave food to the man since he kept knocking.

Jesus continues, “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. Then, it seems that He gives another, smaller parable: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The parable of the friend at midnight shows us that we can come and talk to God at any time.

Take some time to explain the parable to the children in your class. In the time and culture that Jesus lived in, hospitality was very important. If you weren’t prepared for a guest to come, it was very embarrassing and shameful. Since the man woke up his neighbor in the middle of the night for bread, that shows how important it was to the man to have bread for his friend. In the parable, the man represents all of us.

Ask the children if they know who the neighbor represents. The neighbor represents God!

The parable of the friend at midnight shows us that we can come and talk to God at any time. It doesn’t matter if it’s early in the morning or the middle of the night. We should pray to Him with confidence that He will hear us. We should continue to pray until we get an answer.

Sometimes our answer is a clear “yes.” Sometimes we get a clear “no”. Sometimes our answer is “wait.” Getting “wait” as an answer is usually something we don’t want to hear. This can be especially hard for children, since some of them don’t have a lot of patience. Encourage the children that “wait” isn’t a bad answer. He wants what is best for them and He knows what that is. After all, we just read that He gives His children the best gift – the Holy Spirit.

Encourage the children that “wait” isn’t a bad answer.

This lesson can encourage your Sunday school class that they can pray to God, and He will listen to them. He wants His children to talk to Him, and He shows them perfect love as their Heavenly Father.

George Müller experienced many amazing answers to prayer. When the children in your Sunday school listen to his story on U-Nite Radio®, they will be encouraged by his example. Find out more at

Thanks for joining us in this series of the parables of Jesus. Hopefully, you feel more confident in being able to teach these truth-filled stories to the children in your Sunday school class.

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