06 Jan, 2013 When to press a plea in prayer (Part I)

For those who know the gospels, you will know the story of the Syrophonecian woman who came to Jesus requesting her daughter be healed.

EM Bounds says “He prays not at all, who does not press his plea” – citing this example of the Syrophonecian woman, calling it ‘a remarkable instance of insistence and perseverance to ultimate victory, in the face of almost insuperable obstacles and hindrances.’

How often do we face circumstances that seem immovable before us? Certainly we face on with the Hope Project at this time, with the general momentum around the country gatheringmomentum at a pace that is not keeping up with the needed preparations.

The great lesson from this story is that immovable determination and perseverance get God’s attention! The account teaches the same point illustrated in other parables of Jesus, such as the woman seeking justice from the unjust judge, or the man who – guests having arrived late at night – boldly goes to his neighbour at midnight to ask for bread.

Bounds summarises the lessons from this story as

  1. 1.Our Lord setting forth – for our information and encouragement – the serious difficulties which stand in the way of answered prayer

  2. 2.Teaching the lesson that importunity (tenacious perseverance toward a believed-for opportunity) conquers all opposing circumstances

  3. 3.That an answer to prayer is conditional upon the amount of faith that goest into a petition – and that delays in answer are a test of this faith (and its resulting resolve). “The superficial pray-er subsides into silence, when the answer is delayed. But the man of prayer hangs on, and on. The Lord recognizes and honours his faith, and gives him a rich and abundant answer to his faith-evidencing, importunate prayer.”

What is it that you need to stand for, and persevere for, in prayer?


DAVE MANN. Dave is an Author and gifted communicator with a passion for the Gospel. This passion started when he came to faith at age 11. After Secondary School he went straight to Bible College, followed by 7 years in outreach ministry in New Zealand, then nearly 9 as a pastor in Singapore, before returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Dave is a visionary and fearless about pioneering initiatives aimed at helping the Church in New Zealand in the area of its mission. Author of various books and Tracts including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
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