Prayers of Importunity
God delights in His children’s’ prayers, especially those of importunity… I beg You; I beseech You; I implore You; please Lord, I entreat You.. God loves the grace of pertinacity, where His child’s determined, persistent, tenacious, resolute perseverance.. continues to plead the delights of His heart.
There’s a fine line between gracious entreaties, and a determination to have one’s own way.. just as there can be a fine line between pride and true humility.. and a subtle distinction between self-elevation and the lifting up of the Lord Jesus. Both self-determination and sins of arrogance point to me and not to Christ.
Self or Christ
And each blood-bought saint would do well to engage in deep introspection. Each wise believer needs to search out the ruinous sins that lurk deep within one’s own heart. But the repeated entreaties connected with the prayer of importunity are far removed from an insisting on one’s own way. They are the deep implorings for God’s promised benefits. This is not the believer demanding some “thing“, but an intense desire to receive from Him – His committed blessing.
God wants men and women of prayer and faith, to seek more of Him. Men and women who would cry out with John the Baptist as he recognises the Lamb of God.. I must decrease and He must increase. John 3:30. Who after the long night of sorrow insists with Jacob at the break of day. I will not let you go, unless you bless me, Genesis 32:26
God wants men and women who ache for more of Him. God wants men and women who pant for Him.. as a deer pants for the watering hole. God wants men and women whose hearts turn away from My-Self to the Him-Self. God wants men and women who long for a more intimate love relationship with Himself – who love Him with a deeper, purer love.
God will often test our desire and entreaties by causing us to wait and wait and wait….. and wait. God will sometimes wrestle with us through the night of doubt and sorrow – to prove that such gifts are given to the one who seeks Him with all their heart. As He said to Jeremiah.. you WILL find me if you search for me with ALL your heart….” Jeremiah 29:13. God will sift our very motives as He searches the thoughts of our hearts.. until our earnest request is sanctified to meet with His pure plans and purposes. So that at the appointed time His delayed gift will come – and it will come at our best time: for our times are in His hands Psalm 31:15 and it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
“I will not let you go unless you bless me,” he said, but God wrestled with Jacob much more than Jacob wrestled with Him. And God prevailed while Jacob fell.. his thigh dislocated; his pride shattered; his ego broken. But Jacob clung on until the break of day – until the blessing came. And Jacob, the strong, resolute, proud, arrogant, scheming Jacob.. limped from his encounter with God – a weak and broken and humbled man. And ONLY then, after having been crushed beneath the Hand of the Almighty.. only then was he told:- your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 2:28
Jacob to Israel
So Jacob moved from being a proud heel-snatcher to being a gracious prince with God – from being earthly Jacob to heavenly Israel; from a natural to a supernatural. Remember, true prayers of importunity, which wrestle with God for His blessing, will indeed transform the man or woman who seeks Him with all their heart. But such a transformation in the life of any terrestrial Jacob.. must first be broken and crushed beneath His searching gaze, in order to produce God’s best – a celestial Israel.
After days, months and even years of such wrestling, He will bring you to that crisis point. If He does call you to your utmost for His highest, you must first be broken in every area of your self-life. And when all else has failed – only then will He answer your prayers of importunity. Cease from your own strength, beloved child of God. Terminate your own developed wisdom. Crucify any prideful extravagances and surrender to Him in thought and word and deed.. and motive – until Christ be formed in you. God knows how to lead you to your own Calvary crisis. God knows how to guide you through it as well.
But there are some that fall at the last hurdle. Discouragement sets in and the wrestling prayer of entreaty, fails to persist.. just at the point that God is watching to see how earnestly you desire Him.. how much you long for Him.. how dearly you desire His blessing – how earnestly you seek His very Presence. Just at that point – so many give up their darling quest. Continue to hold on to the skirts of the Almighty. Persevere and besiege His throne of grace.
Dying to Self
Cast yourself helplessly at His feet. Die to your own strength, your own wisdom. Die to your own achievements, your own charisma. Die to your own self-interest, your own magnetism – and in humility and grace, rest in His strength and in Him alone. And remember, He takes away the first, that He may establish the second. Replace the mountain of wood, hay, and stubble of your own-sufficiency, with the cherished gold, silver and precious stones of His All- Sufficiency. It was Paul who put it into words when he cried: my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! Gal.4:19
At Thy feet I fall
Yield to Thee my ALL
To SUFFER, LIVE or DIE
For my Lord, crucified
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
9 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.
3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.
4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.
6 Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord.
7 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?
8 Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
9 Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.
11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
13 And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;
14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:
15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.
17 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come:
18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.
19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.
20 Yet hear the word of the Lord, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation.
21 For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.
22 Speak, Thus saith the Lord, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them.
23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
25 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised;
26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
17 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.
4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now.
16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.
17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.
18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
19 Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;
20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:
21 Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;
25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.
26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord.
27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
26 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.
2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.
3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
11 And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
13 I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;
41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.
44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God.
45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.
46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
92 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,
3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.
4 For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.
5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.
7 When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:
8 But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.
9 For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.
11 Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.
12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
94 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.
3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?
5 They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.
6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
7 Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
11 The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;
13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.
16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.
115 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.
2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
9 O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
11 Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
12 The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
13 He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.
14 The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
15 Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord‘s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
17 The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.