Prayers of Importunity
I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. Luke 11:8
I love it when church members describe with excitement that they are seeing God answer prayers in their lives. We serve a living God who can hear and respond to the prayers of His people! Perhaps you have a prayer request that the Lord has answered recently. I rejoice with you!
Speaking about prayer, Jesus used one particular word only one time. In fact, only one time in the whole Bible is this word used. This word is illustrated many times in Scripture. Even though it is seldom used, it is a BIG word when it comes to prayer.
“Importunity” is the word. Encarta says it means “wearisome persistence and persistently demanding.” Have you ever kept asking someone for something until you got what you were asking for? That is what “importunity” is.
The disciples of Jesus have just asked Him to teach them “How to Pray.” He gives the “Model Prayer” in Luke 11:1-3. It is better known as the “Model Prayer” than the “Lord’s Prayer.” This is because in the prayer, Jesus instructs the one praying to confess sin. Jesus had no sin of His own. He was sinless, unlike you and me.
After giving the “Model Prayer” Jesus relates several examples or illustrations about the consistency, priority, and value of prayer. The first example is where we find this word “Importunity.”
Imagine with me for a moment… Your next door neighbor has a friend travel to visit from a far-away place. It is getting late in the evening – way past dinner time. Your lights are out and everyone in the house is asleep. The doorbell rings, someone is knocking on your door.
It is your neighbor. You shout out the window in the second floor “leave us alone.” The window is open already because you do not have air conditioning, so the breeze keeps everyone cool at night. The neighbor says “I need your help – a friend has come to visit me and we ran out of food!” He is persistent and asks for only 3 loaves of bread. “Go away!” you shout. He keeps knocking. You have bread in the kitchen – but that is on the first floor. You were awakened out of a “dead sleep” and do not want to get up out of bed. The kids are asleep. If he keeps ringing the bell and knocking on the door he will wake the kids up!
When you do rise up, go down to the first floor, get the bread, and give the bread to your neighbor – it is not because he is your friend (in a sleepless moment, you may not even like him!). It is not because he is your friend that you open the door – it is because he kept knocking. The wearisome persistence was in the listener in the house– not the one doing the knocking. His persistence paid off and demonstrated to the one in the house– “You are my only hope. Only you can help me.” When we pray with importunity – we express the same thing to God.
God is better than this sleepy neighbor. In fact, as His children – we are already in the household of faith with Him! He never sleeps. He is quick to respond but we must ask and keep on asking! He does not grow weary of our prayers.
This is the lesson that Jesus connects in relation to prayer – we need to keep asking God. Keep knocking at Heavens door. Do you pray with “importunity” seeking the will of God to take place in your life and in the life of others? Why or why not?
In verses 9 and 10, Jesus instructs further: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Learn to pray with persistence today. Demonstrate God your complete dependence on Him. Keep taking the same requests to the Lord each day and see how the Lord responds.
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