A Parable about Prayer
In Matthew 20, Jesus shares a parable, predicts his death, and teaches about serving. He also heals two blind men. Nowhere in this chapter does he mention prayer, yet in this passage I see two insights about prayer. It’s a different prescription for prayer, and we will do well to follow it.
First, the mother of James and John makes a request of Jesus. She asks if her sons can be given places of honor, sitting on Jesus’ left and right. Jesus’ response is, “You don’t know what you are asking!”
I suspect that many of our prayers evoke the same response, “You don’t know what you are asking.”
Just as James and John’s mother did not have a right understanding of Jesus’ purpose and intent, missing God’s perspective, so to, we often miss God’s intent and fail to see his perspective.
As such our prayers are off base, asking for the wrong things, which are inconsequential.
In the account of the blind men being healed, the men boldly call out for Jesus to have mercy on them. When Jesus hears them, he asks, “What do you want?” They have already asked for mercy, but Jesus wants them to be specific. As soon as they ask to see, he gives them their sight.
How often do we make a general request for God’s blessing, mercy, or grace? These are vague, non-expectant petitions. When making such a plea, how can we ever realize the answers? When our requests are specific, the answers become obvious—and praiseworthy.
So, when we pray, it should be specific and it should be with God’s perspective in mind. This is a different prescription for prayer.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.