OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DATE: FRIDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2017
THEME: IMPORTUNE PRAYER OR VAIN REPETITION?
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matthew 6:7
Read: Luke 18:1-8
18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
A lot of people don’t know the difference between importune prayer and prayer with vain repetitions. Importune prayer, otherwise known as persistent or relentless prayer, is good and recommended by our Lord Jesus Christ, while vain repetitions are abhorred and condemned by Him. In our memory verse, the Lord Himself warned us against vain repetitions during prayer! The question is, what does it mean to pray using vain repititions? Does it mean, as assumed by lot of people, using the same words over and over again when praying? To answer this question, let’s take a look at what Mark 14:39 says about the prayers the Lord offered in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.”
It is clear from this scripture that vain repetition does not mean repeating the same words in prayer. Using vain repetitions in prayer simply means continuously praying on a request for which God has said “No” or “Wait”, “it’s not yet time”, in the hope of stampeding Him into doing what He has purposed not to do in your own best interest. I remember when my children were still young and we were living in Mushin (Lagos, Nigeria), where there were so many reckless drivers around. My children asked for bicycles, but I refused to grant that request because I did not want to bury any of them. My answer to their request could be interpreted as, “Wait, it’s not yet time”. However, when we moved to the Redemption Camp, where the roads were safe for young fellows to ride bicycles, I decided it was time to grant their request. If they kept asking me for bicycles while we were still at Mushin, that could be interpreted as praying using vain repetitions.
In our Bible reading, the Lord encouraged importune or unrelenting prayer by using the illustration of a judge who was not sensitive to the plight of his petitioners, least of all a lowly widow. Importune prayer is the prayer we keep on saying when God has not given a verdict of yes or no. It demonstrates to God that we have no alternative to Him and what He can do for us. This story tells us that after the widow kept on going to the judge day and night, he decided to do what she wanted. Although God cannot be intimidated by our prayers, in as much as we ask according to his will and we do not grow weary in asking, He will always answer us. Daniel prayed importune prayer for twenty-one days before he got his answer. As a matter of fact, it was his importune prayer that prevented him from being robbed of the answer to his request which had been released on the very first day that he started praying, but was hijacked by principalities (Daniel 10:12-13). I pray that your cry to God will be heard today and you will have testimonies in Jesus’ Name.
Father, avenge me of my adversaries today, and put laughter on my lips in Jesus’ Name.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
AUTHOR: PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE