Sometimes the question is raised, “Why should we pray?” After all, God already knows everything and He already has a plan, so what’s the point? Read on…
As Jesus made his way toward Jerusalem for the last time, a blind man asked what all the commotion was about. Hearing that it was Jesus, he started calling for Jesus’ attention. (We’ll overlook the people who tried to quiet the blind man. Probably the disciples, since they were leading the way.) This guy had obviously already heard of Jesus and knew he needed Jesus’ help.
It’s almost funny—this moment where Jesus obviously knows what the man wants, yet makes him say it anyway:
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied -Luke 18:40-41`
Why did Jesus make
him answer the question?
Lord, I want to see. Why did Jesus make him say it? He had to be taken by the hand and led over there. He had been calling out desperately. His blindness was surely evident. Even the blind guy didn’t think it necessary to state the obvious. And yet Jesus made him answer the question. Why?
I think there were a couple of reasons. One, his statement voiced the faith that already dwelt in his heart. Like asking someone a question to which you know the answer, but you ask just to prove a point. For example, do you love your mother? Everyone loves his or her mother. If I ask such a question, I must be going somewhere with it, not because I really don’t know the answer. The blind man had no doubts about Jesus’ miracle-working abilities; otherwise, he wouldn’t have insisted on Jesus’ attention like he did. So without saying anything directly, Jesus’ question contrasted this random man’s faith with the faith of those who watched and followed him…and with our faith as we read the story now. Is my faith such that I absolutely, unquestionably believe that Jesus can and will meet my needs?
The act of asking means
I want the answer.
But there’s another, deeper reason for Jesus’ question. When we ask for something, we’re saying two things: one, “I am in need;” and two, “I will receive what you give me.” We’ve all been given unwelcome (or at least unasked-for) gifts, and while we appreciate the generosity, there’s a part of us that is unwilling to receive the gift. I once received a wooden carving of an island made to stand up on a table or shelf. Umm…gee…thanks. But if I ask for something, the very act of asking means I want and will receive the answer. If I ask for your advice, it means I want to hear what you think, and I will receive your opinion (hopefully with thanksgiving). I am receptive to you, and I recognize my inability to help myself.
So beneath Jesus’ question were several others:
- Do you understand Who I am?
- Do you believe I can heal you?
- Do you put the authority over your life in my hands?
- Do you want to be changed forever?
For each question, the man’s answer was “Yes!” That’s confident and authentic faith–confident: I know You can do it; authentic: I confess that I need and want you to do it. I wrote before about how we phrase our prayers and how we present them, now in this picture with Jesus, we find a beginning (because there’s SO much more to this!) explanation of why we pray.
In your opinion, what is the purpose of prayer? There’s more to it than this, I know. Please share in the comments below. Let’s have a conversation!