“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Shamelessness in Prayer
(Please read Luke 11:5-10)
If you read our text in the King James Version, you may be scratching your head over one word in Verse 8. Words like “importunity” do not roll easily off the tongue for most people, but we can assume from the context that it has something to do with tenacity, refusing to go away, refusing to take “No” for an answer.
Later translations differ on words to replace “importunity” in our text. Most say “persistence,” while at least one says “boldness” and another “brazen insistence.” Surely there are elements of both boldness and persistence in Christ’s meaning, but those words leave some of us vaguely uneasy. Was the Lord teaching that our requests would be granted simply because were bold enough to make them and persistent in repeating them? Wouldn’t that open the door to bullying in prayer?
Greek scholars differ on the exact meaning of the word. One says “barefacedness,” another, “impudence.” But a third seems to hit the nail on the head with “shamelessness.” That’s how the borrower approached his friend, with a desire so earnest that it overrode pride and fear of embarrassment and kept him repeating his urgent request. The same attitude and perseverance was exhibited by Abraham in his pleading for Sodom and the cities of the plains, and by some who asked for physical healing by Jesus.
When we can approach God with such humility, earnestness and perseverance, especially on behalf of others, his tender answer will come not out of irritation but out of willingness to provide for his children who thus pray. May these thoughts help you in your prayers today.