Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gleanings on Prayer

I learned a new word today. Importunity. It means: annoyingly persistent in asking or demanding.

EM Bounds, using the stories and parables from the gospels, points to the Lord responding to our importunity.

There is the parable of the widow who presses her case till the unjust judge yields.

There is the story of the Syrophoenician woman who came to Jesus on her daughter's behalf with the "persuasive characteristics of humility, sincerity and fervency". Her longing and perseverance disregarded the disciples' attempt to stop her, and pressed into Jesus, who seemed to ignore her pleas until she fell at His feet and He answered her prayer there. (In fact their attempt to turn her away only made her press harder; become more zealous to come before Him!) What mother's heart cannot relate to that?

Then the story of the man who went to his friend and asked for bread, his friend said no, as he was already in bed. But the man pressed his plea. He persisted until he got what he wanted.

I never noticed this pattern of Jesus before, but he seemed to "ignore" initial pleas from persons seeking things at first, and as they pressed in, or their voice got louder He responded to their faith and determination. Almost as if He is testing, asking, "how bad do you want it? Do you really KNOW ME and BELIEVE ME?"

In these few pages, the adjectives used in describing powerful, answered prayer were:
*Restless desire, restful patience. (meditate on that!!)
*Quiet, tenacious, urgent, yearning, solicitous.
*Outspoken, fervent, effectual.
*Fire- shining with a vigorous steady glow.
*Insistent, persevering, intense and prevailing.

Here are a few quotes:
"A persistent spirit brings a man to the place where faith takes hold, claims and appropriates the blessing."

"Fire is the life of prayer, and heaven is reached by flaming importunity rising in an ascending scale."

"Hopeful, urgent, and unwearied, she stays near the master, insisting and praying until the answer is given."

My thoughts ran to times when my daughter was wanting, and perhaps complaining, and I encouraged her, "ask!-ask your dad." She has become very good at it now!

Then to all the times that both my children have asked me for something. The "no's" become harder as they persist in their asking. But my parent's heart was somehow satisfied in the pleasure of the giving (in) because they showed me trust in their persistence.

Think of the times in church on Sunday when the kids come asking to go to their friend's house...sometimes begging. We ended up making a blanket rule for that one; unless they made their plans the night before, the answer was "no", because we CAVED to the on-the-spot asking with such fervency...

Oh wise and loving God, thank you for such treasures in your word. That it blesses your heart when we prove our faith and trust in you by pressing in for the blessing we desire. You are good, and your resources are unlimited. Help us to become fervent and to be importunate in our prayers. To ask, to seek and to knock-as you promise we will receive, find, and the door will be opened. All in the Name of our Savior Jesus! Amen.


HisFireFly said...

Another great post!

I have joked that I am often like the persistant widow, but as you so wisely noted, that is exactly what our God desires.

Angela said...

Hmm, I wonder how many times I've given up because I think God's anwser must be "no", when it may be "not yet". Thanks for these verses, Kathy. Thanks also for your sweet comments on my last post. I gave Will the letter, even though he might think I'm a real weirdo to write a letter to a stranger about how God wants a relationship with him. Um.. I might have to switch jobs. Just kidding. I hope.

Genny said...

This was great! Thanks!