How Radical Are Your Prayers?

Taking up Luke 11:8, Ray Ortlund exhorts us to pray with impudence in 2013. What does this mean? Let’s consider Ortlund’s explanation and see how our prayers are transformed in the New Year for the greater glory of God.


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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