Matthew 20:32 – So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” NKJV
Jesus was leaving Jericho on this particular day, and of course He was surrounded by people. As He walked along the street there were two blind men sitting on the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing they cried out to Him for mercy. Some in the crowd told them to be quiet, but they got louder and cried out again for mercy.
How many times have you prayed for God’s mercy when what you needed was finances, or healing, or some other thing? God’s mercy is His compassion towards mankind. The Hebrew word for mercy is eleéō, and means “to compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace) (The Blue Bible). I personally believe that all of God’s responses to us is because of His compassion towards us. But His compassion or mercy is so endless that we need to refine our request for results that matter.
All too often when we pray we are general and have a tendency of being repetitive and full of religious sayings. We go through life wondering how we can be so faithful in praying and yet we lack results in our prayers being answered. We can get loud and emotional, we clap and stomp and say “Father God! In the Name of Jesus, and other phrases to fill our prayer time, and leave tired from the activity with no assurance of our prayers being answered. Jesus said that when we pray, we are not to use vain repetitions. Matthew 6:7- “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” When I read this verse, it helped me to see that I really did need to listen to make some changes in the way that I was praying.
In our scripture we have these two men, crying out for mercy. When Jesus stops and asks them what do they want Him to do for them they don’t ask for mercy! Isn’t that surprising that they have been yelling for mercy, but now that they have His attention, they are no longer asking for mercy? No! They ask for their eyes to be opened! And Jesus opened their eyes! He showed them mercy when He opened their eyes, but He could have shown them mercy without ever opening their eyes. They were specific in what they wanted and they got exactly what they wanted.
Our verse for today, share an important ingredient in praying effectively. That simple truth is this, that we are to be specific in our prayers. In dealing with my children when they were small, I often had to try and figure out what they wanted. My second born was a fast talker when she was a toddler and some times she would talk so fast I couldn’t understand what she was saying. On one occasion she was going at it and I kept asking her what did she want. Finally, her big sister said to me that she wanted some water. I said that she was not asking for water. Then my oldest turned to her and asked, “Didn’t you say you wanted water?” She said yes with her head bobbing enthusiastically. To this day, I still think that she just agreed with her because it was her big sister, but the point is that I couldn’t help her until I knew what she wanted.
1 John 5:14-15 – Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
It’s also important to ask. This word for petition is aiteo in the Greek. It means to be adamant in requesting and even demanding assistance in meeting tangible needs. This doesn’t mean being disrespectful to the Lord, but it does mean that you can respectfully ask God for what you want, and when you are specific in your request that is based on the word of God, you can boldly ask and expect that you will receive what you want from the Lord.
This type of praying is known as petition praying and it’s all about being specific in our request. The Greek word aitema is a form of the word ask, and it means specific, exact, explicit, precise, and detailed request. This request is so thorough that there is no misunderstanding of what is being asked and expected. This picture of prayer is so detailed that it is a bona fide petition that has been submitted to the Father.
Some in the Body teach that we should write down our prayers and be specific about what we want so that we can recognize when we get the answer. I am really bad at that and am working to get better, but the really important things are hard to forget.
Over the years I have learned two very important things about praying. The first is to ask! Jesus won’t always ask you what do you want! But He is always available to hear our requests! The second is to be specific. If you want to be healed of something, be specific about that. If you want finances for something, tell Him what you need. You might ask, “Doesn’t He already know what you want or need! Yes, He does. But asking is part of the receiving. Until next time! Wonderful Jesus!