I once had a person ask me to pray that they would win the lottery. I think most of us would like to win the lottery. Now, I, out of conviction, have never purchased a lottery ticket and explained why I could not pray for him in that area. But it hit me that this person exhibited a faith in what he believed.
I find reading the gospels accounts incredibly insightful. I connect with Jesus ministering to different people in different situations. In Luke 18:35-44 Jesus encounters a blind man near Jericho. It is in this account that Jesus restores that man’s lost sight. We see Jesus’ interaction, ““What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”” (Luke 18:41) It hit me that this is very similar to prayer in our lives. Jesus repeatedly asks us this wonderful question. “What do you want me to do for you?” Prayer is the opportunity for us to bring our burdens, challenges and needs before our Creator. Jesus encourages us to seek His help, like in this passage, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
What stood out to me in this passage, at least as is seems to me, is the requirement of faith. Jesus responds to the man’s request, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.”(Luke 18:42) Jesus attributes the man’s faith to be empowering his request. It was his faith that opened the door for the Lord to work.
The big question in your mind right now might be, what is faith? We know that one of the best definitions for this is trust. I believe that the passage reminds us that it is more than the mental acknowledgment of a truth. Did the blind man believe that Jesus could restore his sight? The answer is yes and that is an initial stage of faith. But it is in the beginning of the narrative that we see that faith in action is what empowers our requests to God. We read that when the blind man heard that “Jesus of Nazareth was passing by,” “And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”” (Luke 18:38)
What stood out to me was that he took action. He put feet to his belief that Jesus could help him. You see it was his faith in action that “made him well.” There are many times that God answers prayers without any action on our part. But I have learned that most answers to prayers require me to put feet to my prayers. If you are praying about a relational issue, maybe you need to approach that person by asking if you have offended them in any way? Of if you are looking for a job you put feet to your prayers by putting together a resume or submitting applications.
What I am trying to say is that it is very rare that God just drops answers to prayer into my lap but it has happened. However, most of the answers have come from me putting my faith into action by taking the steps that I can take. I am thinking of a point when our church needed to have asbestos testing done on a building to be demolished. I prayed for the Lord’s help with this. The answer took making about 8 different phone calls before He connected me with a company run by fellow believers that were able to help us.
So what are the prayers on your heart right now? What is the areas that you need the Lord’s help or direction? The question to ask yourself is, am I doing what I need to be doing so that the Lord can work!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson