I’ve had many people make comments to me about my prayer life assuming it’s vibrant because I lead prayer meetings. While I would like to agree with the psalmist confidently in faith that “with my whole heart I seek you” (Psalm 119:10), the honest reason I got involved in leading prayer meetings is because I’m very aware of my own need for Jesus. I have a lot of growing to do in my prayer life, but I desperately want to see God’s kingdom come and His will be done. I know that as our church becomes a people of sincere faith banging on God’s door asking for His will to be done, He is sure to answer.
Mark 10:46-52 describes the story of Bartimaeus (whose name means son of honor). In this story a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, is told that Jesus of Nazareth is in the midst of the large crowd passing by him and responds by shouting “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many of the people around him try to shut him up but instead he cries even louder “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Hearing his cry, Jesus calls Bartimaeus to himself and heals his blindness.
Wow. This story moves me for two reasons. Firstly, Jesus is the kind of man who while leading a large crowd of people stops with compassion for a yelling beggar. May I never get past this aspect of Jesus’ character. Secondly, if a blind beggar cried out with that kind of expectation when he heard that Jesus was walking past, how much more should we cry out who have been filled with His Holy Spirit and to whom Jesus has promised “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Bartimaeus was well acquainted with his need. His desire to see was so great, and his belief that Jesus was the man to meet his need was so strong that he had no problem making a fool of himself by yelling and ignoring the rebukes of those around him. Has your prayer life ever been so extravagant that people have criticized you for it? Mine has not. I’m not saying God only responds to those who cry out in an unprecedented way, but I do know that God responds to those who are fervent. We as Christians have the capacity to identify with the broken and stand in the gap for them. The arc of our own stories is the same as Bartimaeus’- we had a great need, we cried out to God, and he answered.
Beloved, in our city and all around us are people who need God. Sometimes as we become accustomed to life with God we can forget the death and darkness we lived in before and take for granted the life and peace we have now. Let us rather look to the needs of those around us and ask of God who provides abundantly more than we even think to ask for that he might heal the spiritual blindness and brokenness that fill our world.
We as a church are very presence-focused, and we’ve talked a lot about our access to the throne of God. What are we doing with that access? God’s promises on prayer are ridiculous. Let us take God at His word and press in to these promises.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I want to live an abundantly fruitful life in Christ, and Jesus Himself said plainly in John 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing.” In the case of Bartimaeus, he wanted to see and he asked of Jesus and was healed. Where do you see brokenness around you that needs healing? Cry out to Jesus. “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2)
Prayer is faith in action. Prayer is grabbing hold of the unseen God and His power.