Importunity is not a common word in our modern vernacular. So when we read the parable of a Friend at Midnight, it might be difficult to understand the word that so described the main character. The end of the story rests on this statement: Luke 11:8 “…yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” The parable speaks of need: A man needs bread, but the hour is late. He’s knocking on a door at the wrong time. The man inside considers him a friend, but it’s midnight. Besides, there are children to consider. The father must wake the children to supply the need. The father says, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are asleep. I can’t get up and give you anything.” Three reasons are given: The door is locked. The children will be disturbed. The hour is late. The father has spoken and the answer is “no.” “Go away. Can’t you see that it’s too late?” However, the father will change his mind because of his friend’s importunity. We call it, Persistence. He is Relentless. He just won’t go away.
I wish it were deeper than persistence. I know that many are looking for some theological revelation to answer their most difficult conflict. Jesus said, Matthew 7:8 “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” The ‘eth” on the end of each word actually means “continually.” Jesus presented the plural to ask, seek, and knock. Jesus did not end this thought with one parable or a single statement. Jesus was emphatic! Jesus said, Luke 18:3-5 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
The widow received what she asked for because of her importunity. Constant coming. Continual asking. Repeated seeking. It was her insistence that brought about justice. There was no special gifting needed to receive her heart’s desire. It was just her request in repeat mode. I wonder how many have given up praying because they feel like they sound like a broken record. Maybe you are weary in well doing. I say, let your importunity be your resolve and never quit seeking for the thing that you long for. The answer may rest on your importunity.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole