Key 1: Importunity, Just Keep Asking
And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
- Friend and friend: A friend comes to us in need, he is hungry but we have not a thing to set in front of him. We need to go to our Friend who has enough for all and more left over.
- Need for 3 loaves
- He said no!
- Just bugged him enough to get the answer he wanted. Importunity (KJV, NKJV persistence) anaideia NT:335 anaideia (an-ah’-ee-die-ah’); from a compound of NT:1 (as a negative particle [compare NT:427]) and NT:127; impudence, i.e. (by implication) importunity: KJV – importunity.[i] Literally it means shameless.
- His troublesome perseverance; his continuing to disturb the man, and refusing to take any denial. The word “importunity” denotes perseverance in an object, without any regard to time, place, or circumstances – an improper perseverance. By this the man was influenced. Rather than be disturbed he would rise and give what was asked. This is to be applied to God in no other sense than that he often hears prayers and grants blessings even “long after” they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings “at once.” He promises only that he will do it, or “will answer” prayer. But he often causes his people long to wait. He tries their faith. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they “feel” entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are “prepared” to receive it. Often they are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may “at that time” not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for “our” good, and if it is proper that it “should” be granted, God will give it. Let us first ask aright; let us see that our minds are in a proper state; let us feel our need of the blessing; let us inquire whether God has “promised such” a blessing, and “then” let us persevere until God gives it. Again: people, when they ask anything of God, often give over seeking. They go “once,” and if it is not granted they are discouraged. It is not so when we ask anything of people. “Then” we persevere; we take no denial; we go again, and “press” the matter until we obtain it. So we should of God. We should go again and again, until the prayer is heard, and God grants what we ask of him.
Key 2: Believe and Forgive
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Key 3: Bearing Fruit
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
- What is fruit? Could it be soul winning (cf. Proverbs 11:30)? Could it be the Fruit of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22-23)? While these are both fruits in the Bible, we need to read the verse in context.
- What is the context of this verse? We see in verse six it says “we ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.” So it could be salvation, health, victorious Christian living, because the fruit here is answered prayer!
- This is not an unconditional request. The condition must be met, that is we must be abiding in Christ What does that mean?
- It means we are obedient to Him and follow His teachings allowing His Spirit to lead us.
- I know this may seem a little radical to those who are hearing this for the first time, I know it did to me but as I meditated and prayed, I realized this is correct for the context!
Three keys Jesus gives us to have a fruitful prayer life: importunity, belief & forgiving, and abiding. This combined with what we learned in the first two lessons and a vital loving relationship with the Father will yield the prayer life and bring us closer to relationship we desire with God
[i] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.