Our Beloved Jesus told of a host who had guests, but needed food to give them, so he went to his friend at night when his friend was in bed asleep; knocking upon the door, he appealed for the friend to give him bread so that he could serve his guests. Eventually, the tired soul became aroused enough from endless knocking, that he gave the food to the obnoxious friend. Upon telling this story, Jesus told his disciples to pray with importunity. (St. Luke 11:5-13) He also told a similar story of a woman who pestered a judge for justice, until the judge became so fed up that he yielded to her pressure and gave her what she wanted. (St. Luke 18:2-7) We know these to be examples of importunity, but this is not a word that we often hear. What is importunity? We are called in these passages to literally be annoying to God. Pressure him. Hound Him. Do not let go. Beg persistently with urgency. Implore without allowing God to rest. The word even can mean to make advances that are improper or unsuitable. God does not pay as much attention to whether we approach Him appropriately as to how impassioned and determined that we are. Faith trusts that the effort will be worth it.
The Bible is full of people who stepped outside the box to make their blessing come to pass. Jacob wrestled God until daybreak and held on after being commanded to let go and being injured. Ruth refused to leave Naomi after her mother in law insisted she leave, which placed her on a path to become an ancestor of Jesus. Elisha refused to leave Elijah, even after Elijah repeatedly told him to leave, resulting in receiving the older prophet’s anointing. Tamara played the prostitute to have a child of the promise and Jacob deceived his father to get the prophetic blessing. Moses refused to leave God alone to destroy the Israelites, but instead interceded until God agreed to let them live. The grieving woman whose son died declared “All is well,” as she journeyed to get the prophet who would raise her son from the dead. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus even though the appropriate place for her would have been helping her sister in the kitchen, and He stood up for her action. The blind man cried out to Jesus even though others shushed him, so he received his healing. The woman with the issue of blood should not have been out in the crowded street, but at home alone. Instead, she pressed forward to secure her healing. The woman with the alabaster box anointed Jesus even though people criticized her; even more risky, she had entered the house of Simon the leper- a leper!- to do so. Threat of illness or breaking the law could not stop her from showing her love.
The lover of our soul encourages us to be a pest. Natural parents weary of children who are high maintenance and whiny. God does not tire of our seeking. Push past every hindrance: internal, external, physical and spiritual. Seek His face. Seek experiences with Him. Cry out for loved ones and insist that He help them. Choose a fast or make a donation as evidence of your determination. Pray quietly; pray loudly; pace and shout; worship and thank Him; just don’t stop. Love has the energy to grip hold, and like Jacob wrestling into the night, love hangs on and will not release until the blessing comes.