Importune prayer is prayer that is aroused and energized by the Holy Spirit. According to E. M. Bounds,
It [importune prayer] is not an impulse of energy, not a mere earnestness of soul; it is an inwrought force, a faculty implanted and aroused by the Holy Spirit. Virtually, it is the intercession of the Spirit of God, in us; it is, moreover, “the effectual, fervent prayer, which availeth much.” The Divine Spirit informing every element within us, with the energy of His own striving, is the essence of the importunity which urges our praying at the mercy-seat, to continue until the fire falls and the blessing descends.
I think this is right on. When we pray with importunity it is really the Holy Spirit praying in us. He moves us and motivates us in our prayers. Here are four ways the Holy Spirit motivates us to pray with importunity:
1. By friendship. The Spirit of God is always moving His heart toward us in friendship (Read John 15:12-17). He asks us to be His friend and to befriend others. Andrew Murray has said, “Life as a friend of God gives us the wonderful liberty to say, ‘I have a friend to whom I can go even at midnight.’” To have God as a friend means that I can share everything with Him, and He will share His heart with me. Moreover, since God is a friend of the needy, my friendship with the needy draws me closer to God as a friend; and it opens His heart to me for prayer. Friendship I think is the best and most wonderful motivating factor of importune prayer.
2. By concern for needs. As we grow in our friendship with God and with others we are touched with concern every time there is a need. With God we are more and more concerned for His holiness and His reputation. And for all of our earthly friends, we wish them happiness of course, but most of all we are concerned for their soul and for their peace with God. Hence, the stronger our friendships develop the more the Holy Spirit will motivate us by concern to pray for them. He burdens us with their needs so that we will pray for them with importunity.
3. By hope. We are certainly urged by the Holy Spirit to pray with importunity because of our urgent needs. But the energy we get to pray with such persistence is based on hope—hope that He as a friend and as a good Father will give us what we need. For God always wants the best for His children.
Notice in Like 11:9-10 that there is a double emphasis on the answer to our asking, seeking and knocking. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” That is the first emphasis on our receiving. But He goes on… “For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.” Our shameless, persistent asking then, if it is true importunity, is always based on this hope—that God will answer! And surely, in contrast to the so-called friend, in the story in Luke 11:5-8, who said “Go away, I am comfortable and in bed,” God is not and is never in bed sleeping! If there is a need He will definitely be quick to give us what we need. This is the great hope we have in God as we pray with importunity.
4. By fear. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). We all will be judged some day. For believers, our judgment will be according to our works; that is, we will receive rewards according to our works. For nonbelievers, they will be judged by whether they have received Jesus or not. If they have not received Him they will be removed forever from the presence of God, to a place called hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12). Every praying believer ought to be motivated to pray for himself and for nonbelievers out off fear of these things. No one will escape the judgment of God. With this in mind, let us pray fervently, with importunity, for everyone that God gives us a burden to pray for.