"Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' 'Lord, I want to see,' he replied. Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."
- Luke 18:40-42 NIV
There is a phrase spoken by Jesus and recorded in the Gospels that is amazing, but often overlooked. It's, "What do you want Me to do for you?" (Luke 18:41; Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36; Mark 10:51) I believe that this is a question that the Lord asks all of us on a regular basis, but unfortunately, we rarely recognize or respond to it. In Luke 18, a blind beggar boldly calls out to Jesus and stops Him in His tracks. When the Savior asks him what he wants, without hesitation, the beggar replies, "Lord, I want to see." I think if I had been in this beggar's situation, I probably would have analyzed my situation and my worthiness before I dared to ask for a miracle. I might have said, "Lord, I'd really like my vision restored, but I probably don't deserve it, so if it's not Your will, I'll understand." Fortunately, this beggar didn't make that mistake. He took a leap of faith and asked Jesus to heal him, and when the Lord did, He told him, "Your faith has healed you." The fact of the matter is that it often takes great faith to ask God for His help. We read promises in the Bible like John 16:24 (TLB)--"Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow"--and we think to ourselves, that's just too good to be true. It couldn't possibly be that simple. But the truth is that it usually is.
The apostle Paul wrote: "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace shall be yours..." (Philippians 4:6-7 AMP) The Lord has practical reasons for inviting us to continually make our wants, needs, and desires known to Him. As we share our thoughts and concerns with Him freely, we are able to let go of our fears and anxieties, and to receive His supernatural peace. How can we enjoy our lives, or touch the lives of others, if we're constantly bound by fear and fretting? We wouldn't be much use to God that way, so we really aren't just being selfish when we approach Him with our wants--we're positioning ourselves to be more fruitful and productive for His glory.
Peace is not the only thing we need to be the most useful to God. We need to be filled with supernatural joy, too--because the Bible says that our joy is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Show me a depressed believer, and I'll show you a weak and ineffective one. Jesus said: "Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete." (John 16:24 AMP) Here again, we see the emphasis on continually requesting the Lord's help and blessings. As we do, the Savior says that we will experience the kind of joy that fills up our entire being, and leaves no room for depression or despair.
One of the reasons why believers often hesitate to tell the Lord what they really want is that they're afraid they'll ask for the wrong thing. They lack confidence in their ability to pray according to God's will, as the Bible instructs them to. (1 John 5:14-15) But believers who are devoted to the Lord and His Word don't have to be timid about asking Him for the desires of their hearts. As Jesus Himself said: "If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7 AMP) We simply cannot pray correctly apart from knowing and believing the Word of God. But having a working knowledge of the Scriptures renews our minds and helps our thoughts and desires to line up with God's. When that happens, we wouldn't even want anything that wasn't God's perfect will for us, so if our prayers weren't answered, we'd trust that it was in our best interests.
I believe that this message is for you today, and that Jesus Himself is asking you--"What do you want Me to do for you?" How are you going to answer Him?
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to pray with the confidence and boldness that I know is Your will for me. Fill me with a love for You and Your Word that will move me to spend time in Your presence and the Scriptures each day. Thank You that the next time You ask me--"What do you want Me to do for you?--I will respond in ways that will bless my life and glorify You!
- J. M. Farro