From what I have discovered from my study, there seems to be two main aspects of importune prayer: it is urgent, and it has a dogged persistence. Each of these has their own demands. Urgency is demanded because of great needs. Persistence is demanded because of the time factor—the fact that it takes time for prayer to be answered.
The Demand for Urgency
In every importune prayer there is a demand for urgency. In the parables and stories we saw that there was always a great need, which required urgency. The man who went to his friend for bread (Lu. 11:5-10) had a great need for bread. The woman in the parable in Luke 18 had a great need for justice. The Canaanite woman had a daughter who had an urgent need to be healed (Matt. 15:21-28). And the blind man had a great need to see (Lu. 18:35-43).
Likewise, in all your praying, if the holy Spirit has truly called and urged you to pray with importunity, you can be sure that the object He has put on your heart to pray about is a thing of great importance, a thing that demands urgent prayer.
“But why,” you may ask, “are there such great demands for urgent prayer?” Here is why: because trouble is so constant, sin is so rampant, and because the devil is so entrenched. Therefore, our prayers should always be against these things and for the righteousness of God. Ultimately, all our prayers should be as Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earthy as it is in heaven.”
The more we are concerned for His kingdom and will, and the more we detest sin, the devil, and all his works, the more we will see the demand for urgency in prayer; hence, the more we will pray with importunity.
The Demand for Persistence
In all importune prayer, there is not only a demand for urgency, but also for persistence. This is because it almost always takes time for prayers to be answered; therefore, prayers need to continue with persistence. But why is that true? Why can’t God answer prayers immediately?
Well, He can, and He sometimes does if He wants to perform a miracle. However, God has chosen to put us, and all His creation, under the law of gradual growth. Just as the grass, the flowers, and the trees grow slowly and gradually, animals and people also grow slowly and gradually. Our prayers should be that that process would continue as it was designed, therefore, that God would give us the proper sunshine and rain that we need in order to grow and develop properly. Furthermore, let us pray that He would send His messengers to pull the evil weeds out that hinder our growth.
Now I am not saying that we can’t pray for a miracle, or that God can’t speed up the growth process. He can, and He has—like the time He caused the sun to stand still for a whole day (Josh. 10:12-13). But if we pray for that kind of a miracle we shouldn’t be surprised if God doesn’t answer that prayer; because His normal way is the way of gradual growth—even in our spiritual lives.
Yes, our spiritual life is under that law of gradual growth too. For just as our body takes time to grow and develop, our spirit and our relationship with God takes time too. Consequently, as our faith grows to maturity and as we grow in His knowledge, we will see more and more answers to prayer.