I have long been fascinated by the word importunity. It seems so deep and rich with meaning. Recently as I was reading Scripture I followed the Thomas Chain references through to several passages on the subject.
Importunate: pertinacious: urgent or persistent in solicitation, sometimes annoyingly so. (from dictionary.com)
1. Luke 18:1-8.
One of the most well-known examples of persistence was this widow who kept going before the judge with her plea. He kept refusing but finally he gives in because she has become so bothersome.
Jesus says that if an unjust judge gives in because of persistence how much more so will God bring about justice for us, especially for those who persist day and night. But His question which leaves me pondering is this “When to Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Faith….will He find that I have had enough faith to persist in prayer, to persist in praying His promises. Would not faith be as Hebrews 11:1 says “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”? Often the promises of God are unseen to us but am I sure of what I hope for, sure of what He has promised me? Will I wrestle in prayer for what I believe He has promised? Not a weak-willed wrestle but one of heart wrenching dependence, holding onto the promises with a vice grip.
Christ is praying in the garden so fervently that His sweat was like drops of blood. This is a wrestle of strength to believe by faith. This is not a prayer life that only half believes, but one that consumes the will and emotions.
Here an official comes to Jesus asking Him to heal his son. He knew the miracles that Jesus had done in the past and believed that He was able to heal his son. In this passage I didn’t see the official asking repeatedly so I read some of Matthew Henry’s Commentary to gain better insight as to why this is an instance of importunity.
- He was a noble man and he chose to come to Jesus, a lowly carpenter
- It was a travel of 15 miles between Capernaum, where his son was, and Cana where Christ was. Rather than sending a servant to go to Christ, he went himself. 15 miles doesn’t seem like a lot but when I think about walking 15 miles it would probably take most of the day.
- Rather than coming to Christ with orders he came as a beggar.
- Also take note that Jesus reprimanded his faith, saying that he will never believe unless he sees.
- Jesus also healed from a distance, told the man his son was healed, and he believed. I find it amazing that the son was healed at that exact moment. That is how God is! He speaks and it is done.
Peter is in prison but as verse 5 says “the church was earnestly praying for him” (NIV). I believe this earnestness is a picture of importunity. God answered the prayers of the church and Peter was released. Praise God!!!
Do I not see the supernatural work of God frequently because I do not pray with importunity?
Favorite Quotes on Importunity by EM Bounds from The Necessity of Prayer
He prays not at all, who does not press his plea. Cold prayers have no claim on heaven & no hearing in the courts above. Fire is the life of prayer, and heaven is reached by flaming importunity rising in an ascending scale.
Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart toward God. It is the throwing of the entire force of the spiritual man into the exercise of prayer. Forceless prayers have no power to overcome difficulties, no power to win marked results or to gain complete victories.
I welcome your thoughts, comments or insights. God bless.