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

The Necessity of Prayer – Lesson XXII, Prayer and Importunity 

Working for the government taught me much about authority and the asking of authority for things to meet the military mission.   

But one thing I learned about asking is that asking takes planning and asking must be done repeatedly and on many occasions with urgency.   

While working at Whiting Field in charge of engineering and facilities planning I made sure that our needs were brought to the attention of our next level commander and on many occasions it didn’t hurt to find out where the money was coming from and go to that command directly and press our case with importunity.  

We did not just ask for anything but we asked for things within the will of the U. S. Navy.   

On many occasions that will was expressed in official documents and based on those documents we were to submit the paperwork for funds to fulfill the Navy’s will.  

On many occasions visitors from other commands, upon seeing the exceptional condition of Whiting Field, would remark that it seemed to them that Whiting Field was getting more than their share of the available monies.   

Their base did not look so good and they wanted all bases to not look so good.   

They thought our looking good was making their base look bad.   

Their mind was fixed that bases should get a certain percentage of the pie but that was not how I operated.   

My philosophy was that I was to look after one base in the Navy, Whiting Field. 

I was not to look after other bases and I did not intend to get in the way of the Admirals that were responsible for looking after all of the bases and the ships of the Navy.   

In other words I was focused on that which God gave me to focus on and I was to get all that I could get for Whiting Field.   

I had a heart for the rest of the Navy but I could not do for the Navy what I could do for a small part of the Navy at Whiting Field.   

But there were many in the same business as I was who simply prepared the justification for their needs, sent it up to the next level and just waited for the money to flow.   

I didn’t believe in that way and applied importunity to the process.   

We followed the paper up, we called, we hounded, we begged, we cajoled, we told jokes, we established first name relationships with program directors in Washington who had never heard of Whiting Field. 

But program directors are responsible for getting the money out and it does not look good for them if they have surpluses at the end of the year.   

They were not in the business of having surpluses left because there are real needs out there and those needs will not be met if they do not get the money out.   

There was always more money coming down the pike because that is the way the constitution operates.   

Annual appropriation you know! 

I had good people on my staff who would help them in their efforts.   

They were used to simply putting your paper on the pile and having it move along at a snail’s pace until your turn came.   

They were not used to dealing with someone who cared whether funds came or not.   

But we had a heart for Whiting Field and the mission of Whiting Field.   

We had a cause and the cause put fire under us to do something to enhance the mission.   

Every day we realized that someone’s son or daughter, someone’s father or mother was risking their life to learn to fly and to join the fleet and defend this nation.   

Our job was to make facilities, runways, taxiways, airfield lighting the best in the world so their job could be accomplished in a safe and efficient manner.   

That is a worthwhile mission but it does not come near the mission that we have as children of God.   

What a cause is the cause of Christ!   

If things of this world deserves importunity doesn’t the cause of Christ deserve the importunity in prayer that God calls for.   

The resources of the United States are limited and must be spread in many directions but the resources of our Heavenly Father are without limits and we can ask and ask and ask and He will never run out in His ability to give and give and give and give.   

His constitution does not operate on an annual appropriation but he operates on an eternal appropriation.   

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth of every mine.   

We do not have to be careful about asking in such a way to get more than our share.   

When resources are without limit there is no such thing as shares.    

God in his great wisdom knows that asking, and asking and asking with importunity will do something for us.   

There is more to this than that which we want.   

An anonymous writer wrote this:

“Two-thirds of the praying we do, is for that which would give us the greatest possible pleasure to receive. It is a sort of spiritual self-indulgence in which we engage, and as a consequence is the exact opposite of self-discipline. God knows all this, and keeps His children asking. In process of time—His time—our petitions take on another aspect, and we, another spiritual approach. God keeps us praying until, in His wisdom, He deigns to answer. And no matter how long it may be before He speaks, it is, even then, far earlier than we have a right to expect or hope to deserve.”


The substance of Christ’s teachings, is that men are to pray earnestly.   

God desires that we pray with an earnestness that He cannot deny.  

The scripture that tells us that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”, reveals to us that heaven has ears only for the whole-hearted and those that are deeply earnest. 


God respects and hears the prayer that is backed by energy, courage, and perseverance.


This truth is so clearly brought out in the parable of the man who went to his friend for bread, at midnight.  

Luke 11:5-8, And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.  

Don’t you suppose that this man left his house with confidence that his friend would help him out even though his need was at the middle of the night? 


Perhaps he said to himself as he went to his friend’s house: 


It sure is good to have friends when you are in need.


Shouldn’t friendship guarantee success? 


So he pressed his request, he could not go back empty-handed. 


But his friend refused to help and this surprised him. 


So friendship did not bring him success but his friend’s refusal did not stop him, for the need was real. 


What to do when friendship fails? 


Just keep on keeping on with a stern resolution and a fixed determination.  


It was so with our Lord as he faced the cross and as Isaiah wrote in: 


Isaiah 50:7,  For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 

This man who is prevailing upon his friend on behalf of his guests has set his face like a flint and he has no intention of being ashamed before his guests. 

I will just stay and knock and knock and knock and knock until my friend is impelled to get up and meet my need.


This, the needy man proceeded to do, and what friendship would not bring, his importunity secured what ordinary appeal had failed to obtain. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ used this achievement of importunity to illustrate the necessity for insistence in supplicating the throne of heavenly grace.  

Jesus Christ is teaching us that any delay in the answer to prayer is simply that signal for the praying Christian to gain courage and advance his urgency until the the answer is given. 

God expects his children to press him with importunity, to press him with a faith that is a faith of vigor and energy. 

Our Father in Heaven does not receive praying that is lax, fainthearted, impatient, or timid. 

This kind of praying gets no further than the ceiling of our prayer closet.   

Our father’ heart, his hand, his infinite power and his infinite willingness awaits our importunity and our insistence in prayer.   

Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart toward God.


It is the throwing of the entire force of the spiritual man into the exercise of prayer.


Isaiah lamented and moaned that there was no one who was passionate to take hold of God.


Much praying was done in Isaiah’s time, but it was easy, indifferent and complacent.


There was none interested in drawing from God the treasures of his Grace.


Isaiah wrote in 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.  

This is the heart of God, he wants no rest in this matter of prayer and the seeking of his grace.   

We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and remind God of his promises and give him no rest until he establish and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. 


Now we live in the day that Jerusalem is a curse in the peace process of the middle east. 


What to do with Jerusalem?  Jerusalem is a thorn in the way of peace.


Now as far as peace is concerned many wish that Jerusalem would go away but God intends to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth, and he intends for his children to give him no rest till he make it so.


Importunate praying never faints nor grows weary.


Importunate praying is never discouraged. 

Importunate praying never gives up to cowardice, but is lifted up and kept by a hope that is without despair, and a faith which will not let go.  

Importunate praying has patience to wait and strength to continue.


Listen to what that great missionary, Adoniram (A don iram) Judson, who was a man of importunate prayer wrote. He says:

“I was never deeply interested in any object, never prayed sincerely and earnestly for it, but that it came at some time, no matter how distant the day. Somehow, in some shape, probably the last I would have devised, it came.”

In the three words ask, seek, knock, in the order in which He places them, Jesus urges the necessity of importunity in prayer.


Importunity is made up of intensity, perseverance, patience and persistence.


We are to learn from blind Bartimaeus. 


It seems that this blind man first cried to the Lord as Jesus entered into Jericho and that his cries continued until Jesus came out of the place.


Blind Bartimaeus intended to give Jesus no peace until he granted him his heart’s desire.


At first, Jesus seems not to hear.


The crowd rebuked the noisy racket of Bartimaeus.  


As Jesus walked though the crowd he seemed unconcerned but the blind beggar still cried, and increased the loudness of his cry, until Jesus was impressed and moved on his behalf.


Finally Jesus, paid attention to the beggar’s plea and granted him favor.


He gains his case.


His persistence won where half-hearted indifference would surely have failed.