Matthew 20: 29-34: As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and 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 have read this story about Jesus restoring the sight of these two blind men many times without realizing a key point in the text. Jesus asks them what it is they want.
Jesus is leaving Jericho and as usual a large crowd was following him. The presence of blind or crippled beggars were a common sight outside the gates of a city. As Jesus gets closer to them they begin to shout even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matthew tells us that the crowd rebukes them and tells them to be quiet. And what did the two blind beggars do? They began to shout even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Now they have the attention of Jesus. The Lord stops and what does he do? He asks them a question. Why did Jesus, who obviously knew that these men were blind, ask them what they wanted him to do for them? They are blind, Jesus! They want to see! So why did Jesus ask them a question instead of just going ahead and healing them?
Jesus wanted to make sure that these two men knew what they wanted. God obviously knows our requests before we even ask them. But I believe that God also wants us to verbalize what it is that we are asking for. Jesus knew what these men needed but he wanted them to ask so that they could receive. Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
If God answered all of our prayers immediately, it would simply make God our own personal prayer genie. He would exist only to answer our prayers, whatever they may be. It is through persistent prayer that we learn to trust in God and strengthen our faith. When prayers are answered, after years of praying, it is nothing short of a miracle from God. It becomes clear and certain that God answered our prayer.
There is a prayer that I have been praying for over five years now and it has yet to be answered. So I ask myself, what do I want? Do I believe that my will is God’s will and this prayer will eventually be answered? Or, do I give up and quit praying, thinking that God just isn’t going to answer this prayer? Personally, I refuse to give up, because the next time that I pray this prayer just might be the time that God has chosen to answer this certain prayer of mine.
The Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul reminds us to pray continually or persistently, for this is God’s will for each of us in Christ Jesus. So I will continue to persistently pray this prayer, which is also, I believe, God’s will for me in Christ Jesus. The answer to my prayer might come next week, after 7 years, or even 10 years. It is also possible that God may answer my prayer in a completely different way.
When God does answer my prayer, I will know without a doubt, that the answer to my prayer was nothing short of a miracle. So I will continue to prayer persistently and give thanks to God in all circumstances as God continues to strengthen my faith.