Blind Bartimaeus is beside the road as Jesus is leaving Jericho. He begins to cry out, hoping that Jesus will hear him. He is a blind beggar; how can he find Jesus in the crowd? How would he ever be able to approach Him? The more others told him to be quiet, the more he yelled until Jesus heard him.
So, Jesus says, " Call him up here." Bart throws off his cloak and heads for Jesus.
Now, the very interesting part.
Jesus asks Bartimaeus, "What do you want Me to do for you?" Isn't the answer obvious? Why does Jesus ask this question?
Bart wasn't shy about the answer. He doesn't do like so many Christians who pray, "O Lord, if it be thy will, if you can see it in your heart, if you might, I would like for you to ___ but if you don't that's alright by me." How can you even get a "yes" or "no" answer from this request?
Bartimaeus says, "I want to regain my sight." This tells us a couple of things. Bart could see at one time in his life for he asks to "regain' it. He knew exactly what he was asking for. He didn't give any long explanation, justification or efforts in begging. (And he knew how to beg for he was a beggar.) He asked clearly.
Jesus says, "Go, your faith has made you well." Immediately Bartimaeus' sight returned and he began following Jesus.
This is not a formula for getting whatever we want. It does tell us what we should do in order to receive an answer from the Lord. I hear some people pray with a lot of words and I don't know what they have asked of the Lord. I don't think they know either.
Why don't we ask as clearly as Bartimaeus? Are we afraid of asking the Lord? Are we afraid of being disappointed? We can maintain a pseudo-faith if we say God can "do" but we never ask Him to. This is a Santa Claus type of faith. We say that he exists but secretly know better. We say he will bring us our presents but buy all of them for ourselves. Yet, we want to tell Santa stories and pass them on to our children.
God already knows what we need but our verbalization of that need gives us evidence that God is always faithful to us. He always loves, always knows and is always powerful. His "no" answer for what we have asked is no less loving than His "yes" answer. He wants us to say it clearly because it enhances our faith, gives us greater cause to praise Him, gives us a testimony to others and it reveals His heart to us in each answer.
This past week Rick Warren asked his congregation to erase their deficit of $900k. The response was over $2 million. What if Rick had asked for "some money" without any amount given? Then, anything raised could have had a bullseye drawn around it. How could that have been a praise to God?
Is there anything that you need from the Lord for which you have not clearly asked? Can you verbalize it? Can you write it in a short sentence? Would you be able to specifically tell others that God answered your prayer by the way your request has been made?
It takes real faith to ask the Lord clearly. Don't be blind anymore.
Mark 10:52 (NIV)
52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.