More Than Importunity

Luke 11:5-13

5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  NRSV

This parable is often referred to as the parable of “importunity,” persistence to the point of annoyance. I find it an odd way to introduce the next verses about prayers of petition. On the one hand, it could be read that we need to be an annoyance to God before God will answer our prayers. On the other hand, it could read as our persistence indicates to God the seriousness with which we take God and the petitions we make. They are far more than a whim.

I trust that God takes our prayers and petitions with the same seriousness we do. Knocking on God’s door with our heartfelt petitions until our knuckles bleed is not seen by God as an act of importunity, but a demonstration of our deep faith in God and love for the people we pray for. That is how we stir God’s heart to action.

Be a blessing to someone today!

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