“Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine has come to me from a journey and I have nothing to serve him’ and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even if he will not get up and give him anything just because he is his friend, yet because of his shamelessness (importunity) he will get up and give him as much as he needs.Luke 11:5-8
The four aspects of this parable (used by Jesus as an example of persevering prayer)
1 - your relationship to the one you're going(praying) to - friend
You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. - John 15: 14-15
(yes, I know that we don't pray to Jesus, but to the Father...but if this parable means what it seems to say, the person we pray to is..."Friend")
2 - The difficult timing - midnight, that is when help is least to be found
3 - The nature of the request(prayer) - in this example, we are to order/prioritize our requests according to our greatest and immediate needs.
4 - The occasion of the request
What is Importunity?
im·por·tu·ni·ty/ˌimpôrˈt(y)o͞onədē/nounnoun: importunity; plural noun: importunities
- persistence, especially to the point of annoyance."you urged me on with untiring importunity"
Basically, we're supposed to be holy nags.
GotQuestions adds "urgent" - as in "urgent persistence."
Proverbs 6:3 says
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, Seeing thou art come into the hand of thy neighbor: Go, humble thyself, and importune thy neighbor;
It seems that importunity (urgent persistence) goes hand in hand with humility.
It's in the urgent times of great need that we come to the point where we are face to face with the reality that we cannot help ourselves.
We are in the hands of God.