They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
“What do you want me to do for you?” That might strike you as a strange question for Jesus to ask a blind beggar crying out for help. Isn’t it obvious what anyone in this man’s sandals would want? And yet, Jesus wants the needy man to articulate it, to name his desire and to speak it. Andrew Murray, in his book on prayer With Christ in the School of Prayer, speaks to our need to identify and to name what it is we want Jesus to do for us:
The cry had reached the ear of the Lord. He knew what the man wanted, and was ready to grant it to him. But before He did it, He asked him, “What wilt thou that I should do for you?” He wants to hear from his own lips, not only the general petition for mercy, but the distinct expression of what his desire was. Until he speaks it out, he is not healed.
Socrates said that generalities are the refuge of a weak mind, but they are also the refuge of weak praying. I often err in asking God to bless me, or others, without specifically naming the blessing desired. What is it that I want for myself or for others? How do we ever thank God for His answers if we have not specifically asked?
I like to imagine Jesus beginning every morning asking me: “What do you want me to do for you today?” Jesus is pleased when we take Him seriously, asking Him specifically for what we need from Him.
- Read again today’s Scripture employing as many senses as you can. Set the scene. Is it warm, cool, windy, rainy? What does the crowd look like? Who are they? What are the street sounds?
- Now imagine Jesus calling for you, like the blind beggar, to be brought to Him. How do you feel about Jesus wanting to hear what you want to say? Imagine Jesus looking into your eyes and asking: “What do you want me to do for you?” You want many things, but what is it that you most want from Jesus? Identify it! Tell Him!
- You may not today receive what you are asking, but keep asking. If you are asking for something that is wrong for you, Jesus will let you know. Listen for Him!
“What a lot of praying there is that prays for everything in general and nothing in particular.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Spurgeon Gems