Importunity in Prayer
...Moving Toward Utterly Believing God in Intercession
ABRAHAM was the first man to believe God, and thus, to pray. He set a striking example for us, especially in the matter of praying with importunity. This is the praying that calls upon the greatness of God and requires an answer out of that greatness. In this, Abraham discovered some secrets that will serve us well.
DAY 1—He gained the secret of hearing from God and obeying Him.
Genesis 12:1,4 The LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee...So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him...
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
LORD, help me, like Abraham, to hear Your voice. Teach me the powerful secret that some through the ages have known. I believe it is necessary for us who face the days of the end. Teach me to hear You, believe You, and obey You even when sometimes I don‘t fully understand.
What did Abraham seek? A better country, that is a heavenly one—Heb 11:9-16.
DAY 2—He maintained his point of worship as he made a practice of calling upon the Lord.
Genesis 12:7,8 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, Who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.
FATHER, I know my point of worship is the cross on which Your Son died. I can build no better altar. I can make no fonder place to find Your grace or see Your face. There, and there alone, I meet You and lay down the burden of my sinfulness. From there I find the "better country." Now, make me an intercessor for others who don’t yet know the way but who want that "country" too.
DAY 3—He believed what God said concerning his Seed that would be born.
Genesis 15:5,6 And He (the Lord) brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy Seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.
FATHER, I see this amazing secret that Abraham held. Oh, I reach through and touch this same Seed! It was Abraham’s greater Son who would come, even my Lord Jesus. I too have believed concerning Him. He is my righteousness and hope in my supplication.
What do we know of the Seed of Abraham? Mt 1:1; GaI 3:16; Heb 2:14-18
DAY 4—He discovered the secret of withholding nothing from the Lord.
Genesis 22:2 And He (God) said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.
FATHER, Your call to me that I give up what You imparted to me is not as great as it was to Abraham. Still I have had difficulty releasing it. Heal my heart of the pain. Set me free from the bewilderment and stress. I yield up every thing, every gift, every talent You have placed in my life. Sanctify it with the fire of Your altar.
Abraham’s sacrifice pointed to the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus—I John 4:9,10; Rom 5:8; John 3:16.
DAY 5—He came to the place of full persuasion regarding the Lord.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:18a,20,21 ….Against hope (he) believed in hope...He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
FATHER, bring me to this place of full persuasion. Work into me the faith born of Your Spirit so nothing I come against will loom over me as greater than You. Help me not to regard impossibilities. They rise up and declare there is no need to pray. But, I press in to You, especially regarding these I hold before You. I believe You, not the false pretense of impossible situations.
We can hove the same persuasion regarding hope, and thus, we can too prevail—Rom 4:18; 5:5; 8:24-28.
DAY 6—He became a friend of God.
II Chronicles 20:7 Art not thou our God, Who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend for ever?
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called the Friend of God.
GRACIOUS LORD, my dearest Friend, I love You. I wait before You. I listen for Your voice. Teach me. Quicken me to pray. Enable me to remain faithful to our friendship. Teach me how to draw others in.
We become "friends" of Jesus—Jn 15:13-15.
DAY 7—He interceded for a family for God to Remove His Judgment.
Genesis 20:17,18 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech...
Provberbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.
FATHER, release in me the compassion that will care when a family suffers, even a family not related to me. Teach me the way of an intercessor that I might bear others who hurt before Your throne for their healing.
How the Lord Regards our Care for Strangers In Trouble—Lk l0:29-37; Mt 5:7.
DAY 8—When sin had come to its full, he pleaded with God and lost.
Genesis 18:31-33 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went His way, as soon as He had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
LORD, help me learn from this story how sometimes when iniquity has reached it full, You will not be moved upon to remove judgment. Help me listen till I hear Your voice and know Your will in matters that require judgment. While I pray, I will stand in awe and sin not.
The Supplication that Did Receive an Answer—Ps 106:13-23. (The whole Psalm is enlightening.)
THERE ARE striking examples of importunate praying throughout Scripture. We can learn from each of them as we open our hearts to the Spirit of Supplication.
DAY 9—The Supplication that Left a Man Crippled but Changed the World.
Genesis 32:24-28 And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day. And when He saw that he prevailed not against Him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me. And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
FATHER, few of us can pray as this man Jacob did. Raise up more. Bring forth in the land men and women who can prevail with You in prayer. Move me in this direction. Teach me things about prayer that I don’t yet know—yes, Lord, even if it leaves me weakened in my flesh.
The Supplication that Received God’s Greater Answer—Il Cor 12:1-10
DAY 10—The Supplication that Won a War.
Exodus 17:8,9,11 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. ... And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
I Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
DEAR LORD, raise up men, and women, in the land to pray with holy hands lifted up. Teach us what this means. Teach us what authority is ours to hold off the advance of the enemy upon Your people.
The Authority of All Believers to Withstand the Enemy—Eph 6:10-16
DAY 11—Supplication that Turned Away God’s Wrath.
Deut 9:18,19 And I (Moses) fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water; because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
FATHER, this is awesome to see a man holding off the wrath of Your judgment. At least, bring some of the same kind of love and desire Moses had for Your people and place it in my heart. I want to see Your people brought into the full purpose You have for them. Whether I pray for Israel or the church, teach me to prevail in prayer.
How Crying unto the Lord in Repentance Calls into Effect His Covenant Promise—Ps 106:39-48
DAY 12—The Prophet’s Admonition that Watchmen Make Supplication for Jerusalem.
Isaiah 62:6,7 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence. And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Hebrews 12:22a But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem..
DEAR LORD, make me a watchman. Raise up many watchmen in the land. Teach us what it means to watch and pray. Bring into our bosoms the cry of Your Spirit for Your people. Help us know what it means to give You no rest till You make us a praise in the earth.
Crying to God for the People of His Government in the Earth—Is 64:9; Ps 102:13; Mt 6:9,10
DAY 13—The Awesome Invitation of God that We Make Supplication for His Sons.
Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker. Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye me (Some theologians suppose that this should be interpreted as a question, not a command. However, that it could be a command bears out with other Scripture).
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
LORD, this is also awesome to me that we, the people You have redeemed, should inquire of You concerning Your high purpose for Your sons. Or, that we should command You concerning Your work. But it bears out with other Scripture, so I lean my heart toward this kind of praying. Teach me in it. Draw me into it.
An Ancient Prayer when Israel Was in Desolation—PS 74:1-12
THAT WORD deésis, the word we associate with importunate praying, occurs in some significant passages. If we will but reach through and see some of them, we will touch on some powerful insights to help us in making our supplications unto the Lord. Each day we will take a passage that makes use of deésis ("supplication") or its kindred Verb, déomai ("to make supplication"). These passages of Scripture point us to the kind of praying that prevails even when—for a season—the answer does not seem to come.
DAY 14—Putting away Our Anxious Care.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing ("Don’t he anxious about anything"); but in every thing by prayer (proseúche) and supplication (deésis) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Psalm 142:1 1 cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
John 2:2 I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice.
FATHER, there are matters that have weighed me down for years. Times of anxiety come over me, sometimes in the middle of the night. I find it easier to worry than to pray. But now I am turning this very part of me that becomes anxious over to the authority of Your Throne. Help me see there is nothing the power of Your grace and wisdom cannot handle. I seek You for this.
Lifting Our Soul unto the Lord because He Can Heal It—Ps 25:1-8
DAY 15—Knowing that God Always Is Aware.
I Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers (deésis): but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
II Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him...
FATHER, let me not do foolishly with regard to seeking Your face. Teach me not to allow other persons, or other things, to crowd out my time of waiting before You. Bring upon me that Spirit of supplication to make me want to pray and wait in Your presence. Teach me to press through the presence of evil and every other distraction.
The Eyes of the Lord—Ps 11:4; 33:19; 34:15,16; Pro 15:3
DAY 16—The Church that Prayed Till the Answer Came.
Acts 4:29-31 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word (lógos), by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of Thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed (from déomai), the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word (lógos) of God with boldness.
FATHER, place this kind of desire in the hearts of the people with whom I fellowship. Put it in my heart. Teach us that, when we face a situation that is difficult, we can come before Your Throne till the answer comes from You. Help us not to grow weary in waiting before You.
Withstanding Opposition by Praying—Acts 4:17-28
DAY 17—For Someone with Unholy Desire, an Admonition to Cry unto the Lord.
Acts 8:18,20,22 And when Simon saw that through loving on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money... But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money ... Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray (from déomai) God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
DEAR LORD, please reveal in my heart any way in which my approach to You has been wrong. Show me where my motives, as well as my desires, may be out of line with Your Kingdom’s ways. Make Your conviction strong upon me that I may repent and seek You rightly.
How Conviction Came upon Saul of Tarsus—Acts 9:1-11
DAY 18—The Example We Have in Paul as He Made Supplication for Others.
Philippians 1:3,4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer (deésis) of mine for you all making request (deésis) with joy...
Romans 1:9,10 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. Making request (déomai), if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
FATHER, teach me to hold the kind of concern Paul held for others. Too often my deepest concern has been relative to my own needs. Today I am ready to take time to hold some others before Your Throne of Grace. Some of them I know and love. Others I am ready to hold before You are less dear to me, but You love them dearly.
Finding What Caused Paul to Pray—Phil 1:3-8
DAY 19—How even the Apostle Paul Needed the Earnest Prayers of Others.
Philippians 1:12... 19 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel... For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer (deésis), and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
FATHER, teach me how to pray for those who are serving You. When I see their weakness, help me not to criticize, but to pray. Give me a disciplined spirit so I can stand in agreement with them and not oppose them in their weakness. Teach me to make supplication for those who are facing severe trials.
Some of the Afflictions of the Gospel—I Cor 4:9-15
DAY 20—Paul’s Deliverance from Death because Others Made Supplication on His Behalf.
II Corinthians 1:9-11a But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us; ye also helping together by prayer (deésis) for us...
LORD, make me sensitive to the guidance of Your Spirit. Teach me to help others in their conflicts by praying earnestly when they are in trouble. I know this means I must wait in Your presence. So please bring a discipline over on my spirit so I will do this.
Some of the Difficulties a Minister of the Gospel Might Face—Il Cor 6:4-10
DAY 21—How a Man Who Knew Not God’s Perfect Way Prayed and Found Answer.
Acts 10:1,2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed (déomai) to God alway.
FATHER, I see in the story of Cornelius how You regard to cry of a person’s heart, even then their theology may be found lacking. O LORD, draw the hearts of the many religious people in the world to seek Your face earnestly, even though they may not know you perfectly.
The Amazing Answer to Cornelius’ Prayer—Acts 10:3-20
DAY 22—How a Church Prayed till One of Its Ministers Was Released from Prison.
Acts 12:4,5 And when he (Herod) had apprehended him (Peter), he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
FATHER, I see in the story of Peter’s release how a church can unite in prayer and see wonders brought to pass for Your Kingdom. Bring forth in the land many who will make supplication like this. Join me with a people like this. Teach us to pray without ceasing.
The Amazing Answer to the Prayer—Acts 12:6-18
DAY 23—The Supplication that Pressed through the Discouragement of Established Religion.
Matthew 15:22,23a,28a And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word.... Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
LORD, teach me in this. Help me see Your mercy and power extends even to people who seem not right. This will help me press through with my own deep need. It will also help me become a better intercessor. Move me.
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