One of Jesus’ disciples once asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In response the Savior gave the people what we now call the Lord ’s Prayer and then went on to teach with a parable. In the parable a man receives unexpected company and has nothing to feed his guests. Frantically, he knocks on a friend’s door and asks for some bread. The friend is already comfortably bedded down for the night and calls out that he can’t come to the door.
But the man persists in knocking, and we are told that though the friend wouldn’t go to the door simply because he was a friend, he finally goes to the door because of the man’s “importunity” (Luke 11:5-10).
Jesus is teaching about prayer and obviously we get the message that sometimes we need to be persistent in praying for what we need and want. But there is something more here. The word importune means “to request or beg for urgently.” Persistence is definitely part of this definition, but in addition we get the feeling that Jesus is explaining that prayer is not just words, prayer also involves emotion.
Sometimes our prayers become routine—just spoken words. But prayer means that we are engaged in the thoughts and intents of our prayer with all of our mind and our heart. The scriptures call this mighty prayer. What Jesus is teaching us here is that mighty prayer is not something uttered; mighty prayer is something felt.