Morning Devotion 003: Pray Specifically


“And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” [Mark 10:51]

I’ve been plodding through a small book a friend at church loaned me called, “With Christ in the School of Prayer”. Each mini-chapter addresses a section of Jesus’s teaching on prayer and analyzes it for lessons that we, as Christians, should learn.

The above Scripture is, as the book contends, illustrative of the need for us to bring our specific requests to God. I’ve heard this articulated before in a teaching by a peacher before, but the suggestion was dealt with in more depth in this chapter.

These words spoken by Jesus were to a blind man whose original, fervent request was made loudly and repeatedly, “Thou Son of David (Jesus), have mercy on me.”

Before Jesus healed him, he asked what specifically the man wanted for Him to do. It was then the man asked to have his sight given to him, and Jesus obliged.

The point was made in the chapter that we too often pray in vague generalities (and I am completely guilty of this). When the question is asked or implied to us by God, it is not a request for information for the sake of the inquisitor, who certainly already knows the answer. It is, instead, an opportunity for us to take inventory of what our real needs are and to recognize the source of blessings that can address those needs.

Such a question reminds me of the account in the Old Testament when God asked Jacob what his name was, and once Jacob admitted his name, and all that it implied, God changed it to Israel and promised a great nation and blessing through him.

It is uncomfortable to be completely honest with God but, if we know His character and nature like we say we do, we have to already believe that he knows us better than we care to admit. In fact, I’m quite convinced that oftentimes He asks us these questions not so He can hear the answer, but so we can.

We are so adept at being decieved. We believe things of us that are not true. We choose to ignore areas of fault in our lives or we suffer defeat in forgetting the assurances that God gives His children in the Scriptures or His faithfulness in the midst of our sin.

Later in the chapter, the author suggests that there is a reason Jesus asked for the man’s will and not simply his wish. The difference between the two terms was contrasted. Many people wish for something, but do not will it.

For example, many people (including myself) wish to lose some weight, but very few of us will it enough to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

People are full of words and good intentions, which are nothing more than empty declarations and false promises used to attempt to convince those from which they proceed of greater aspirations than one really has.

People generally find time and energy and money and passion for what is truly imporant to them.

As an exercise, look through your credit card statement and checkbook. It will be a pretty accurate indicator of what gods you serve.

Record how you’ve spent your time over the last week. You will likely be soberly alerted to who and what is of most importance in your life.

So what then? Do you wish to change?

Do you will to change?

Ask God specifically for that change. Be honest about things that are easier at first to keep secret, but need to be revealed, if only to you. Even if you suspect that you and God have a diffferent opinion on a matter or a different goal for your life, tell Him that. Ask Him specifically to change your mind and see what He does.

Ask Him to change your heart. He is in the business of doing this.

He made them and he fixes them.

He will.

- 2011, Chris Quimby


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