In the book of Mark, Jesus posed a question to a blind man that I believe has great implication for us.
“As Jesus was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he began crying out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take courage, arise! He is calling for you.’ Casting aside his cloak, he jumped up, and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?‘ ” (Mk 10:46-51).
As you and I commune, connect, abide, dwell with God through our prayers and the practice of our faith, Jesus is asking us the same question, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Do you have an answer?
I have answered that question a hundred times. “Yes, Jesus, please have mercy on me! Yes, Jesus, would you do this specific thing for me?” This is not too brash of a request or response to our Lord. We learned from the story of the widow and the unrighteous judge that our prayers honor God. They don’t annoy, pester at, or bother God.
And this story of Bartimaeus shows us that we can be as specific as God leads us to be in our requests. We can be specific and be bold. Ephesians 3:12 says, “We have a boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.” And from the book of Hebrews, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy” (Heb 4:16). “Therefore, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19). Our confidence, our boldness, to approach the throne of God is because of our faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
Why can we be so bold? Because we have a good Father. We have a near Father. We have a present Father. God is not a distant father, standing back with arms folded, begrudging our requests. No, God is a generous Father with arms outstretched welcoming us onto the lap of Abba Father; where we “let our requests be made known” (Phil 4:6).
Bartimaeus had a specific answer to Jesus’ question as we continue the story. “Jesus said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he received his sight and began following Jesus on the road” (Mk 10:51-52).
Jesus answered the blind man’s specific request. He received his sight! But Jesus’ final response also emphasizes the importance of faith. Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “Your faith has made you well.” Clearly Jesus is doing the healing. But our faith opens the door. When Jesus walks through the door, He will decide the answer that is best for us in this moment. Our faith is our trust in who Jesus is and in His ability to deliver us.
Jesus is asking us, you and I, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And our response is to reply and to believe, by faith, that He will hear us and answer our requests.