There is an account in the Bible of a time when Jesus was leaving Jericho and Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, who was sitting beside the road heard the noise of a crowd. When he learned that it was Jesus passing by he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those around him told him to be quiet, but louder and louder he cried out until Jesus stopped and asked that the man be brought to Him. As Bartimaeus came near, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Let’s stop and think about that for a moment. Do you think Jesus didn’t know what the man wanted? Of course He knew. But He wanted this blind man to be specific. Answering Jesus question Bartimaeus said, “Rabbi, I want to see!” Now Jesus said, “Go, for your faith has healed you.”
Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker uses this story to make an important point. He says “We don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want. Some prayers are so vague there is no way to know whether God has answered them or not.” Some time ago I realized that often as I prayed I asked God to “bless” my child. Although we want God’s blessings, exactly what are we asking for? Now I ask God’s specific blessing – “Bless my child with Your wisdom as she makes this decision,” or “I ask for your blessing of protection when she travels to school.” Mark added, “The more you know about God’s character, the more faith you have and the more specific your prayers will be – and the more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.” When we pray specifically and God answers specifically, we can tell others, “God did that!” It affirms our faith and inspires the faith of others. It becomes so exciting! Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, put it this way,
“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”
Why do we carry these heavy burdens that steal our peace? It has been said that our biggest problem is our small view of God. His word is filled with promises and He keeps every one of them. When God says, “I will, He does!” So when you pray, be bold! Ask God specifically for what you need.
As we pray, however, it is imperative to distinguish between your will and God’s will. Every prayer must pass a twofold litmus test: your prayers must be in the will of God and for the glory of God. With confidence, trust and faith, bring your cares and concerns before God, then YIELD those cares and concerns to Him. To yield means to “give up.” That is what God wants us to do. He wants us to give up our cares and concerns, get out of His way, and let Him do His work. Resist praying ASAP prayers – “Please do it God – As soon as possible.” Instead, trust God and start praying ALAT prayers, “As Long As it Takes.”
One day my grandson was in the car with me and we were on our way to pick up his sister. I mentioned that we might go to his favorite play place for lunch. He immediately asked, “Grandma, are we going there for lunch?” I replied, “We’ll see.” A few minutes later he said, “Are we going to go to the play place?” I said, “We might.” After a few moments he said, “Grandma, just say YES!” Isn’t that just like us? We feel that God hasn’t answered unless He says yes. God answers all of our prayers – sometimes “yes” sometimes “not now” sometimes “no,” and sometimes, “I have a better plan.” The answer is not always what we expect. But it is always for our good. With our focus on who God is, we can have confidence to boldly bring our specific cares and concerns to God, then yield them – give them up to Him. God has promised that He will answer our prayers according to His perfect will, in His perfect time and in a way that will bring Him glory.
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth. Psalm 65:5 (NLT)
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