Margin notes: An encouragement to prayer

Matthew 20:29–34 (ESV) — 29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.

What a great encouragement to prayer this account is.

Note that Jesus is never too busy, never too preoccupied to hear us when we pray. Nor does He fail to hear us because of where we are. These men were unable to go to Him, but He was passing by. He always is. And despite the chaos of the “great crowd” and the rebukes of that crowd to stop pestering Jesus – perhaps interrupting His teaching – He heard. And stopped. And responded.

And note how He did not presume to know what they wanted. He asked them. He does not respond like a machine, but in pity and in an attitude of personal care. While we might think their blindness was the obvious need, who knows what else may have been the case. Might there be an even worse malady, or perhaps someone else they would petition for? But He stops to ask. As He does with us. He waits to hear our hearts and minds. He gives us His tender, personal attention.

Nor is He offended that their prayer centered on their own perceived need at the moment. He did not rebuke them that they did not ask for greater, grander, more spiritual things. They cried out, out of their need. And so do we. And no doubt, there were better, more important things they could have asked for. But this is where they were. This is what filled their hearts at the moment. And Jesus, in His tenderness and compassion meets the need of the moment as they were experiencing it. He is so good and gracious and overflowing with compassion toward us – in all of our needs, great and small.

As they followed Him after their healing, no doubt they learned to pray for many other things far beyond their mere physical needs. But this is where they began. And so with us. We grow in grace in time and the focus of our prayers can and will shift. But we ought never to forget how He meets us where we are, even as He designs to take us beyond where we are in time. Never be ashamed of the smallest need, but cast ALL of your cares upon Him. For He cares for us.

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