1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Necessity of Prayer – Lesson XXI, Prayer and Importunity 

Don’t you think God was pleased with Abraham when the event of this passage in Gen 18 occurred.


23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And 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. 32And 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. 33And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. 

Don’t you know that God was pleased to answer Abraham’s importunate prayer. 

Don’t you think that God delighted in the faith that Abraham showed when he reasoned with God in behalf of the souls in Sodom? 

But notice how close Abraham came to what he may have thought as insubordination as he sought the Lord on behalf of the righteous. 

He questioned God by saying:  Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?  

Notice his humility as he speaks to the Lord almost tiptoeing around God in his request. 

Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:  

Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak:  

Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once:   

Abraham believed in his cause and went to Almighty God on behalf of the righteous even to the point of thinking that he may be subject to God’s anger and wrath.   

But God himself in Isaiah 1:18 instructs us as he says:  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 

Importunate prayer is reasoning together with God.   

As Moses prayed forty days and forty nights, he reasoned with God as he sought to stay the wrath of God against Israel.


God gives us this account to stimulate us to importunate prayer.


DEUTERONOMY 9:18-29,   And I 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. And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time. And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount. And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath. Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you. I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin: 28Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness. 29Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.


Elijah repeated and urged his prayer toward God seven times before the raincloud appeared above the horizon, announcing the success of his prayer and the victory of his faith.  

Remember the occasion where faithful Daniel who mourned and fasted for three full weeks until the answer and the blessing came. 


Daniel 10:2-4, 10-14,  In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; ……………………………………………………… 

And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.  

Our Lord Jesus Christ spent many nights during His earthly life in prayer.  

In Gethsemane He presented the same petition, three times, urgently, with submissive importunity, to the point where he sweat blood.  

His victories were won, in hours of importunate prayer.  

And we as his servants are not greater than our Lord. 

Importunate prayer reveals clearly to God, strength of faith.   

The faith of the Syrophoenician woman was clearly shown to Christ when she came to Jesus on behalf of her daughter. 


Matthew 15: 21-28, Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 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. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  

She came to Christ in humility, sincerity, and fervency and would not be discouraged.   

In her plight we see her faith, her grief, but we also see her spiritual insight.  

It was a remarkable instance of insistence and perseverance to ultimate victory, in the face of almost overwhelming obstacles and hindrances.  

But the woman surmounted them all by heroic faith and her persistent spirit that were as remarkable as they were successful.


No doubt our Lord went over into  Sidonian country in order that this truth might be shown for all time.


Jesus had gone over into her country, “and would have no man know it.”


But she broke through His purpose, she violated His desire for privacy, she attracted His attention, and poured out her desperate need.  

Her heart was in her prayer.  

At first, Jesus appeared to pay no attention to her agony, and ignored her cry for relief.


In the face of this kind of reception most would flee. 


He would not give her his eye, not an ear, not a word. 


She just heard silence. 


Even after the disciples interceded the Lord simply responded by saying that ministering to her is outside the scope of His mission and His ministry


Christ tested her faith by telling her that he came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and she was not of that house. 


But this would not discourage her for her need was great. 


Help Me, she said!  


But talk about our Lord being politically incorrect as he responded to her.


It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 


How many people would still seek help after being called a dog. 


But importunity is sticky. 


Importunity attaches itself and won’t let go.


And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.


So God surrenders himself fully and freely to importunate prayer.


This mother was distressed and this distress drove her to Christ and she would not let go before she received his blessing. 


She won the victory and her daughter was made whole from that very hour.


From the actions of Christ’s disciples it appears that this woman’s importunity was a bother to our Lord but instead of being an offense to him he commended her for her faith. 


How he tested her but she passed the test by her importunity.


Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.


Someone has said:  He prays not at all, who does not press his plea. Cold prayers have no claim on heaven, and no hearing in the courts above. Fire is the life of prayer, and heaven is reached by flaming importunity rising in an ascending scale.


What was the one thing that gave victory to the widow who dealt with the unjust judge. 


Wouldn’t her widowhood count, wouldn’t her friendlessness, wouldn’t her weakness count enough to gain her reguest. 


No those things meant nothing.   

Importunity was everything.


“Because this widow troubleth me,” he said, “I will avenge her speedily, lest she weary me.”


Solely because the widow imposed upon the time and attention of the unjust judge, her case was won. 

God waits patiently as, day and night, His elect cry unto Him.


He is moved by their requests a thousand times more than was this unjust judge.


He does not sit quietly when importunate prayer comes knocking. 


God finds faith in His praying people. 


He delights in faith which stays and cries, and he strengthens and enriches that faith by delay in his answer.


Those that are superficial in their praying are soon quieted when the answer does not come.


But the man of prayer hangs on, and on.


The Lord recognizes and honors his faith, and gives him a rich and abundant answer to his importunate prayer based upon great faith. 

In these parables our Lord teaches that importunity reveals great faith and faith is what pleases God.    

Importunate prayer, prayer that hangs on and on and won’t let go is pleasing to our father.