Wednesday, March 23, 2016
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There's one kind of nice trait that seems to have infected every member of our family. It's how much we enjoy trying to just get the right gift for each other. So over the years you'd often hear the question, "What would you like for your birthday, or your anniversary, or for graduation, or Christmas?" And the least appreciated answer goes something like this, "I don't know. Anything is fine." That's usually what I would say. Great! I was hoping for something a little more specific. I need some guidance.
Now, that did not apply to our boys. Oh, no! They were always very helpful when it came to Christmas gifts. I want you to envision a full page list with model numbers, colors, sizes, brand names, at least a month in advance! Yeah, it was pretty direct, but at least we knew what they wanted.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Jesus' Question About Your Prayer."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 20, and I'll begin reading at verse 30, "Two blind men were sitting by the roadside when they heard that Jesus was going by. They shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!' The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet but they shouted all the louder, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!' Jesus stopped and called them, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' He asked. 'Lord,' they answered, 'We want our sight'. Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him."
I love this. The first face they ever saw was Jesus' and they followed Him from then on. As we hear this story, we are actually looking at three secrets of prayer that get a miracle response. You might be able to use that, right? First of all, when you make a request to the Lord and you want to get a miracle it needs to be persistent. Notice, they said, "Lord have mercy on us," and when they were told to be quiet they just kept at it. They're stubborn in their request. Persistent prayer brings miracles.
Verse 33 gives us a second secret because they were very bold. When the Lord said, "What do you want Me to do," they said, "We want our sight." This is something so big only God could do it! I wonder, when's the last time you asked God for something so big; trusting God for something so big only He could do it? He loves those kind of prayers: persistent, bold, miracle-getting prayer.
But let's focus on the one secret of prayer that we miss all too often. In verse 32 Jesus says, "What do you want Me to do for you?" It seems like such an obvious question. Here's two blind men. Jesus heals blind people. They say, "Lord, have mercy on us." But Jesus says, "Well, tell Me exactly what you want Me to do?" The third characteristic of prayer that gets miracles is that it's specific. See, these guys had already made a general request, "Lord, have mercy," but Jesus insists that they narrow down their request and tell Him exactly what they want, specifically. And when they do, Jesus responds with a miracle.
See, too often our prayers are like those vague answers to my family's gift giving questions, "Anything will be fine, anything." We talk to God about "give me a blessing," "I need an answer," "send help!" or some general spiritual request. And I wonder if Jesus is standing there asking, "Well, like what? What are you asking for?" In fact it's really expanded my praying to imagine Jesus standing there as I pray, saying, "Okay, Ron, what do you want Me to do for you?" It's a Bible question.
Now it isn't that He doesn't know what the need is. He wants us to know what we're believing Him for. Philippians 4:6, "Present your requests to God." God honors specific faith! Not demands, but requests that are always under the umbrella under which Jesus Himself prayed, "Not My will but Yours, Lord." Coming to God persistently, daring to believe Him for bold, specific requests touches His heart.
I know the frustration of someone giving me a general answer when I ask "What do you want me to give you?" Now Jesus is looking for specifics. Listen to Him asking you, "So, what do you want Me to do for you?"