Importunity In Prayer

 By David J. Stewart | March 2014

Luke 11:8, “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.

       What an amazing Bible verse! I love that word “IMPORTUNITY,” which means “PERSISTENT BEGGING.” Hardly any Christian believers today obey this Scripture. I believe it is largely because our preachers these days don't practice prayer, so neither do they teach it. We hear plenty of preachers begging man for money, but they ought to be begging God on behalf of man instead. Pastors who pray teach on prayer, and vise versa. When the Bible teaches praying “IMPORTUNATELY” (Luke 11:5-8), we are in reality talking about “SACRIFICIAL PRAYING.”

Prayer is NOT optional to walking with God and securing His guidance. Proverbs 3:6 says “IN ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM” and “AND HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.” Amen! That means “SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES” as Jesus commands in John 5:39 and PRAYING continually as 1st Thessalonians 5:17 commands. James 4:8-10 invites the believer to DRAW NIGH (NEAR) TO GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NIGH UNTO YOU. Isn't that beautiful? You and I have a solemn promise from the omnipotent Creator of the universe that He WILL DRAW NEAR TO US, if we will simply draw near to Him. We often hear ministers quote the first part of Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him...” But we rarely hear preachers focus on the latter part of the Scripture, which says, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
 

Pray Briefly For Your Self And At Length (Begging) For Others

The Lord is pleased when we BEG FOR OTHER'S NEEDS AND THEIR BURDENS. God absolutely wants every one of us to get out of the SELF-LIFE. This is why Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:7-8 to only pray briefly for our own needs, because God the Father ALREADY KNOWS what we have need of BEFORE WE ASK. But the Lord DOES want us to spend much time in prayer, persistently begging, FOR OTHERS. This is what Luke 11:5-8 (story of the neighbour begging bread in the midnight hour) and Luke 18:1-8 (parable of the unjust judge) teach us.

It must make God want to go vomit when Christians beg and beg some more for THEM SELF. You're missing the whole essence of Christianity, which is living FOR OTHERS in Jesus' name. General William Booth (1829-1912) of the Salvation Army made the following excellent statement . . .

Dear Delegates of the Salvation Army Convention:
OTHERS!
Signed, General Booth.

Lord, let me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

If a selfish and carnally-minded believer decides not to pray for others because they simply don't care, then God will chastise and scourge us for our disobedience (Hebrews 12:6-8). God does so by sending hardships into our life to break us, so that we will start to CARE ABOUT OTHERS. Youth are naturally selfish. You'll never know that Jesus is all you need until you've lost everything and Jesus is all that you have left. Amen!!! Once you've lost everything near and dear in your life due to health woes, death, crime, divorce, foolish decisions, personal tragedy or all of the above, only then will you truly begin to comprehend the wondrous grace of God. If God is willing to forgive us of all the horrible things that we've done wrong, then we ought to forgive OTHERS also!
 

The Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray, Because We Don't Know What To Ask For

And on top of that, as if God hasn't been gracious enough, the Holy Spirit “MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US” (Romans 8:26), because “WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AS WE OUGHT” (Romans 8:26). Wow! You may think that you DO know what to pray for, and certainly we have have some general idea, but YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO PRAY FOR COMPLETELY (and neither do I, because only God can see the uncharted waters of our future and the hidden aspects of our complicated life).

Even the most seasoned Christian who has been praying for 50-years does NOT KNOW what to pray for, because only God can SEE THE BIG PICTURE that we cannot see. God sees everything (Hebrews 4:13), which is why can and will judge all men for every deed, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14), and every word (Matthew 12:36), and even our very thoughts will be judged by God (Proverbs 24:12). I don't know about you, but that all compels me to want to think, do and live RIGHT!!! Amen! Do good and it'll be good in eternity. By “good” I mean obeying the Word of God (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

Not only does the Lord encourage us not to pray long prayers for ourselves, but he also encourages us by letting us know that the Holy Spirit KNOWS we don't really know what to pray for. I'm so glad that God put Romans 8:26 in the Bible, because I often simply don't know how to ask God about a situation, or what to pray for someone. I just pray and let the Spirit intercede for me as God promised. Isn't God awesome!!!

Our text verse teaches us to PRAY that God would OPEN UNTO US A DOOR OF UTTERANCE to preach the gospel. It is more than a coincidence that the Bible associates OPEN DOORS with PRAYER. I sincerely believe that one of the most frustrating, shocking and heart-breaking realities in eternity will be when God's children fully realize how many blessings, open doors and answers to prayer that THEY DIDN'T RECEIVE because they simply DIDN'T PRAY AS THEY OUGHT. Jesus said in Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Oh, how we fail in the area of labouring in fervent IMPORTUNATE PRAYER.

Luke 11:5-8, “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 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.”

Prayer And God Opening Doors To Preach The Gospel

Colossians 4:3, “Withal PRAYING also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.”

Notice that the Bible doesn't say to pray for doors of health, wealth and prosperity to open; but rather, so that utterance of the gospel can be made. Praying to receive for myself only is the garbage theology of the demonic Charismatic movement. I love the following excellent statement made by Dr. Jack Hyles concerning the gifts of the Spirit . . .

Not one of the gifts of the Spirit are given for the recipient; but rather, they are given so that the recipient can receive it and give it to someone else! —Dr. Jack Hyles, THOU SHALT COVET

1st Corinthians 16:9, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” If you are a Christian believer and don't have a burning passion to reach lost sinners for Christ with the power of the gospel, then you need to get your heart right with God. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The Bible teaches that when the Lord Jesus Christ OPENS A DOOR... NO MAN CAN SHUT IT!!! Revelation 3:8, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” It is very interesting that the Lord said he wouldn't allow any man to shut the door because the believers in the church of Philadelphia were barely hanging in there (weak) as a church, but they faithfully KEPT HIS WORD and WERE NOT ASHAMED OF HIS NAME. This reminds me of James 4:10 which says if we HUMBLE OURSELVES in the sight of the Lord, then He WILL LIFT US UP!!! God is not desperate to use arrogant, self-willed and disobedient believers to do His work. WHAT GOD WANTS MOST (a life-changing MP3 sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles, 1926-2001). God wants YOU. He wants your love, worship and obedience!
 

Pride Is The Opposite Of Praying

The average believer is wasting their life, doing nothing to invest in eternity. God wants to OPEN DOORS and He will, but as we learn in Colossians 4:3, it only comes by PRAYER. Again, Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” God is responsible for everything that happens to me, but I am responsible for everything that I do. God is greatly pleased when we pray, because that is dependence upon God, which is faith. If we don't pray and abide in the Scriptures, we are literally saying in our heart that we don't need God and that we can make it on our own without His help. James 4:10 warns that God resists THE PROUD. Not praying and living in the Scriptures is a sure indicator that a believer is proud, and thus forfeits God's sweet blessings in their life.
 

Why We Should All Regularly Give To MISSIONARY WORK!

Every New Testament Church should support missionaries. Since churches are composed of individual born-again believers, then every individual Christian ought to support missionaries as well. We ought to have a GLOBAL, REGIONAL (Acts 13:4; 2nd Corinthians 8:5) and LOCAL vision. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

The Word of God ought to ignite a passion in every Christian believer to surrender ourselves to the Lord, and instill a passion for investing in missions work by giving. Acts 13:4, “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” 2nd Corinthians 8:5, “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” When you pray for missionaries and give financially to support their work, that makes you a co-laborer together with them in the Lord. God will reward you as if you were on the mission field yourself. Mark 9:41, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

*Make sure that you only donate to genuine Christian missionaries who are obeying The Great Commission, like BIMI (Baptist International Missions, Inc) and not a scam fat-cat charity that pays it's executives 6-digit salaries!

We are not as generous as what we give; but rather, what we keep for ourselves! Think about that! When we give to God, we are really just letting go of what is already His. Oh, how we ought to give to God. May we graduate from spiritual preschool and start praying at length in IMPORTUNITY FOR OTHERS, and may we give sacrificially to the work of Christ, even selling our personal belongings to do so, supporting missionaries who are faithfully preaching the gospel.
 

Lord Let Me Live That I May Serve

I am ready to go to Heaven anytime that the Lord calls me home, but I desire to remain in this broken fleshly body as long as possible that I may serve God by labouring in prayer, sowing the gospel to win souls, giving to the needy, supporting missionary work, helping the local church, et cetera, so that I may please my God and lay up treasures in Heaven. Jesus is precious!!! There are many opportunities to serve God. Pray and ask God to show you what DOORS He wants you to go through. Literally, we have the WORLD AT OUR DOORSTEP when we support Christian missionaries, both prayerfully and financially. Also, every church should offer sanctuary to their missionaries, that is, a place (shelter) to seek refuge and assistance in time of crisis and need. In late 2013, 1900 church buildings were destroyed in the Philippines from typhoon Haiyan and the killer tsunami that it produced.

Baptist International Missions Philippine Typhoon Relief Fund (1900 church buildings destroyed!)

The loneliest place in the world is the human heart if there is no love. The way to truly be rich is to help somebody else...

“Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological argument, but out of love.” Roland Allen

65% Of 120,000,000, Citizens In Japan Don't Believe In God [less than .05% (500,000) people profess to have any faith at all in Jesus Christ)]. Japan greatly needs the Lord!
 

237 countries,
7 billion people,
2/3 have yet to hear!

Baptist International Missions Philippine Typhoon Relief Fund (1900 church buildings destroyed!)

“If [God] has work for me to do, I cannot die.”
―Henry Martyn, Journal and Letters of Henry Martyn

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Matthew 6:19-21, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

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Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

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