Generally speaking importune prayer is persistent prayer and demanding prayer. Read these two biblical stories and then please check out my brief findings.
The healing of a Canaanite woman’s daughter—Matthew 15:21-28
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
The healing of a blind man—Luke 18:35-43
Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” 42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Here are three things I found in both of these stories that demonstrate to us what importunity in prayer is:
1. Importune prayer is prayer that cries out in desperation for an urgent need. In these two accounts, both the woman and the blind man cried out “Son of David, have mercy on me.” If you desire to pray with importunity you also must have this kind of urgency in your prayers.
2. Importune prayer persists in asking even when God seems distant. In both of the accounts when Jesus ignored them as they cried out for mercy, and when others tried to shut them up, they kept crying out all the more. That is the attitude of importunity.
3. Importune prayer is always with great faith. The fact that both of these characters kept crying out, even when they were rejected, was evidence of their great faith. Accordingly, in both stories, Jesus complimented them on their faith and healed the one who was sick.