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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2 Corinthians 3:17, 18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 24 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.