“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.”  Luke 11:8

“Impudence” is the key word.  Other versions show “importunity,” “persistence,” “boldness,” “shamelessness,” and “brazen insistence.”  All good translations.

The word is anaideia.  That’s the negative prefix an + aideia (“shame, respect, modesty”).  Souter glosses it as “shameless persistence (e.g. in greed).”  The ESV translates it “impudence.”  More casually, we might call it “nerve.”

Jesus is teaching us to pray impudent prayers.  God likes it.  Doors start opening up.  Matthew Henry: “We prevail with men by impudence because they are displeased with it, but with God because he is pleased with it.”

As we enter 2013, we can have the nerve to ask God for what we really long for.  We don’t have to settle for polite prayers that bore us and change nothing.

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2 thoughts on “Impudent prayer”

  1. Excellent! And why are we not praying for the conversion of the whole earth as Spurgeon did in his Evening Devotions for Aug.6 and Dec.24 and as Edwards’ Humble Attempt prompted A. Fuller and W.
    Carey and others to pray in the 1700s-early 1800s. Forty yrs. ago, it will be this Fall, I began praying for a Third Great Awakening as time passed that prayer became larger and larger, to the point of asking for the whole earth and every soul upon it beginning in this generation and continuing for a 1000 generations and a million billion planets. Thanks to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ and A. Fuller’s Gospel Worth of All Acceptance/

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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