Friday, December 19, 2008

One of the Bible's surprising words

"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. 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"). The ESV renders it "impudence." More casually, we call it "nerve."

If you think prayer is boring, look at it from God's perspective. How many boring, predictably flat, way-too-polite prayers must he have to put up with! Jesus is commanding us to pray nervy prayers, because that's when we start getting serious with God. And he likes that. It's when 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 you go into 2009, how are you praying? Got the nerve yet to ask God for what you really need and really long for and what would really display his glory in this God-denying world? Or are you settling for polite prayers that bore you and bore God and change nothing?