When Jesus is asked by his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray,” he tells them a story and puts forth an approach that runs against common sense and against what other religions say about prayer.
In the story, a man who’s in bed at midnight gives bread to another man who’s knocking and asking. Jesus says the man gives the bread not because the other man is his friend but because of the man’s boldness. Other ways to translate the word Jesus uses include shamelessness, rudeness, discourtesy, impertinence, and impudence. That’s what Jesus says is a model for our prayer. “Pray like that,” he says. “Bother God.” Why should we pray this way? Jesus gives the answer: 1) it’s a way to judge our hearts today, and 2) it’s a way to actually live our lives tomorrow in a different way.