DAILY DISCIPLINE #170
By Colleen Donahue
There is an incident recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke that occurred while Jesus was "on the way" which has a great deal to teach us about prayer. In Matthew, Jesus is leaving Jericho and there are two blind beggars, while in Mark and Luke Jesus is arriving in Jericho and there is one blind beggar. While these may be different incidents or the same remembered differently they all teach us the same truths regarding prayer which is just talking and asking of God. So as we study in these verses about prayer -- let's get specific!
Let's Get Specific About Prayer
Studies continued from Matthew 20:29-34
Day 1- Read the three accounts of this situation and observe what is said.
Matthew 20:29-34 / Mark 10:46-52 / Luke 18:35-43
THE PROGRESSION OF PRAYER
Day 2 - Let's start with the blind man. While Matthew doesn't mention them as beggars that was probably the reason for their place by the roadside. Mark and Luke refer to them as blind beggars. They were waiting and ready to seize the moment. No doubt they had heard about Jesus of Nazareth and the miracles He had performed. Now, here they were sitting on the very road where He would walk by! There is so much in life that is like this where there is a moment to decide and act. If it is missed it may be gone forever.
Matthew 24:44 / Mark 13:35 / Luke 12:35-36
Day 3- We are to live our lives in watchfulness of God and for His coming into the situations of our life.
If we are not watchful for God who will be watching us?
1 Peter 5:8
Day 4- Then we see that the blind men could not be discouraged.
They would not be silenced by the crowd who wanted to hear Jesus teach as He walked along. The fact is , persistence in prayer shows that we are serious and will not be put off. God loves to answer serious seekers.
Genesis 18:20-32 / Genesis 32: 26 / Matthew 15:22-28 / Luke 18:1
Day 5- These blind men acted with imperfect faith. We know this because of the way they called out to Jesus. By addressing Him as "Son of David", they were thinking of a Messiah in terms of an earthly kingdom. Jesus met them were they were at. However imperfect our faith may be, Jesus will accept it.
Matthew 9:29 / Matthew 17:20 / Mark 9:23
Day 6- Faith --even imperfect faith is one of the most important elements of prayer. Why?
John 6:29 / Hebrews 11:1, 6
But what must faith be accompanied by?
In the example of this story these men had heard of Jesus and all that He had done for others. They believed that if He would heal others He would also heal them. So, they acted on their faith by persistently calling out and expecting an answer.
Day 7- Now their first request of the Lord was just a general one -- "Have mercy on us!" Even for this general prayer Jesus stopped because they were earnest seekers.
Isaiah 55:6 / Jeremiah 29:13 / Acts 17:27
Day 8- The Lord stopped for their determined cries, but He was not content with their general prayer. He now asks them a specific question.
I believe this same question is one we must answer when we go to God in prayer. If we are never specific as to what we'd like God to do, it is an indication that we are casual seekers content with "Bless me" prayers. Scripture gives us many examples of those that weren't afraid to ask for something definite. Here are just a few.
1 Samuel 1:27 / 1 Samuel 7:8-10 / I Kings 18:36-39 / Ezra 8:21-23
Day 9- Now these blind beggars were ready for the Lord's question. They weren't afraid to ask for something big.
Matthew 20: 33
They asked Him for something totally impossible to men. We are in the best position when we are helpless. Why?
Matthew 19:26 / Luke 1:37
Day 10- God's word is full of His promises as to what He wants to do for man. The more we know what God wants to do, the more confident we can be to claim what is promised to us. Why did Abraham eventually become the father of many nations when he didn't even have one true son yet?
Day 11-Why will we also be able to see God do far beyond what we can even ask or imagine?
2 Corinthians 9:8 / Ephesians 3:20 / Philippians 4:19
Day 12- But couldn't Jesus see that they were blind? Yes, but He didn't presume as to what they wanted. He waited to find out what they wanted. He doesn't act apart from their requests. They might have asked for money or shoes. As you read this verse notice that our Lord is a perfect gentleman. He wants and waits to be involved in our life but we must ask Him in.
The blind men in Matthew 20:33, seem to answer in unison. They are straightforward about their request. There is no pleading, begging, or repeating over and over.
Day 13- The Lord's compassion for these men no doubt went beyond their blindness. He saw men that couldn't work like other men. He saw them begging with all the stigma that brings. So with compassion, Jesus did something specific to match their specific requests.
Day 14- Notice Jesus acted by touching their eyes but it says that they "received their sight". If they had not received the gift of their sight they would have stayed in their blindness. In the dictionary the word receive is defined as:
a) to take in or accept
b) to greet or entertain visitors
c) to pick up radio waves and convert to sounds or pictures
I think this third definition describes here what it is to be a receiver. Something intangible (i.e. Christ's power to heal) is converted to something that can be experienced in this world (sight). We become a receiver through what the Bible calls faith. Reread this verse and memorize it.
Day 15- These men knew that Jesus had the power to heal. He had healed others like themselves and therefore He could heal them if He wanted to. In this story it was a fact that Jesus wanted to heal them. What should faith always be accompanied by? Let's look this verse up again and memorize it along with Hebrews 11:1.
Day 16- Action of some kind is always needed in combination with faith. I once read that faith is like the hand which reaches out to receive what God wants to give. So these blind men did more than believe. They submitted their eyes to Christ's touch and become receivers for their sight. Notice in the verses below that the blessing received were according to their faith expressed.
Matthew 8:13 / Matthew 9:29
So here are a few questions to ponder. Could Jesus be trying to give us something but we have our hands full with other things? Is our lack because we won't reach out and take what He wants to give? Have we decided that we'd better work to earn it first?
Day 17- Where there is a giver there must be a receiver to complete the transaction. We receive by reaching out to accept. But after accepting we continue the cycle of God's power and work by giving thanks and giving of ourselves back to God and others.
Matthew 10:8 / 1 Corinthians 11:23a / 1 Peter 4:10-11
Day 18- And that is what these blind men did. What did they do immediately after receiving their sight?
Luke adds a bit more to the picture.
Day 19- To follow Jesus meant that they wanted to walk the same path with Jesus so that they could learn and ultimately teach others. They wanted to be Christ's disciples.
When we complete the cycle of giving and receiving through faith by thanking God and giving Him the glory for all that is done, how will this affect others?
Luke 18: 43b / Acts 2: 46-47
Let's summarize what we learn about prayer through this incident.
1. When the moment is right to act and ask we need to be ready.
2. We need to live in watchfulness of God and His coming into the situations of our life.
3. We must be persistent in prayer.
4. We must act according to our faith however imperfect it may be.
5. Prayer must move from general "bless me" prayers to specific prayers.
6. Don't be afraid to ask BIG things of God that only He can do.
7. Be ready to receive what God wants to give
8. Give thanks and follow God as He'll prompt you to give to someone else.
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