Daily D – Mark 10:36
Mark 10:36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.” (NIV)
Why does God sometimes say No to our prayers? It could be because he has better plans for us than we have for ourselves. His No leads to a Greater Yes.
Jesus asks the same question twice in this chapter. To James and John (and their mom), he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
To blind Bartimaeus, he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
James and John wanted the honor of the best seats at the table forever in the Kingdom of God. They misunderstood a couple of things. First, they didn’t understand what they were asking. Second, preparations had been made already.
In other words, No.
Bartimaeus answered Jesus’ question simply and straightforwardly: “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus responded, “Go, your faith has healed you,” (verse 52).
In other words, Yes.
Sometimes God says No to our prayers because we don’t know what we are asking. We ask for something unfitting. What we ask for is not as good as what God has for us. What we ask for is not what we would ask if we knew what God knows. Get comfortable with God’s No. It is quite often better than what we would experience if he said Yes.
Sometimes God says Yes because what we ask for fits his stated mission. See Luke 4:18, 19, which includes these words: “recovery of sight for the blind.” Bartimaeus was blind. Jesus’ mission included Bartimaeus.
Consider the Psalms and other Old Testament prayers. Consider the prayers in Acts and the writings of the apostles. These prayers most often address God about who he is and about his purpose. They repeat to God what he said he would do. These prayers connect God’s nature and purpose with what they are facing. In other words, when we pray, we should give God a reason to say yes.
Pray in such a way that what you ask connects to the nature and purpose of God. It’s amazing how often God says Yes when we want what he wants. This provides new perspective on Psalm 37:3-6:
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
James and John prayed all about their privilege. Bartimaeus prayed according to Jesus’ stated purpose.
Whose purpose is advanced if God says Yes to your prayer?
What does God want concerning your prayer request?
Jesus still asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
How will you respond?
I will give God a reason to answer my prayers that honors him and accomplishes his purposes.
Our Father, whatever you want is what I also want. Please tell me No when I ask amiss. Empower me to pray in such a manner that people see how good you are and your purpose prevails. Teach me to pray. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.