God is not a reluctant deity, but a heavenly Father who is more than willing to respond to the needs of his children. But they must ask! The Puritan preacher Thomas Watson once remarked, “The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.” Asking in prayer is the rule of the kingdom. So what do you need today that would be best if God provided it? Ask!
The Journey: Luke 18:41
Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
Jesus begins this chapter by telling his disciples a parable that they should always pray and never give up. (Luke 18:1) The big idea that Jesus wanted us to get is that God is not a reluctant deity, but a heavenly Father who is more than willing to respond to the needs of his children.
But they must ask! Thomas Watson remarked, “The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.” Asking in prayer is the rule of the kingdom, because it both demonstrates and produces several critical factors in the Father-child relationship that faith enables:
- Dependence upon God (Luke 18:7-8, NLT)
- Humility before God (Luke 18:14, NLT)
- Childlike trust in God (Luke 18:17, NLT)
- Full surrender to God (Luke 18:29-30, NLT)
- The relentless pursuit of God (Luke 18:39, NLT).
All of those faith factors are precious in the sight of God. For that reason, the God who knows what we need before we even ask, and who desires more than we can imagine to give us what we desire, waits for us to exercise our faith—and ask.
That is why Jesus asked the question in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Jesus wasn’t talking about saving faith; he was speaking of the exercise of faith by those who have it. Perhaps he was looking prophetically through the passage of time to the present age when we depend on just about everybody and everything else other than our Father to take care of our needs. If we have a headache, is our first response to ask God to heal it, or to go to our medicine cabinet for a pill? If we have a beef with a neighbor, is our first response to go to God in prayer, or call a lawyer? If we are facing a financial challenge, is our first response to be obediently generous toward God, or do we pull in our resources for that rainy day? Do we ask, and keep on asking? Do we pray and not give up? Do we keep exercising our faith—demonstrating our dependence, showing our humility, practicing our trust, offering our surrender, refusing to turn aside—by returning to God again and again for his supply?
Or do we far too easily and much too quickly find an alternative answer to our need?
The God who knows our needs has established it that we must ask. That is why in Luke 18:41 Jesus asked the question of the blind man, “what do you want?”, when the answer was in plain sight. Obviously, the man was blind; couldn’t Jesus see that? Of course he could; the man’s utter blindness was plainly visible to Jesus.
But Jesus knew that asking was the rule of the kingdom. Jesus knew that doling out healing as a cheap entitlement would never catalyze a growing faith. Jesus knew that engaging the man’s faith by asking this question would prompt him to exercise something in the moment that would energize the growth of faith for the rest of his life. Jesus knew that putting action to faith now would allow him see something far greater, longer lasting, and more eternally beneficial than mere sight: That God longs to “grant justice to his chosen people quickly” when they have faith enough to ask. (Luke 18:8, NLT)
“What do you want?” Jesus asks of you. Why don’t you tell him? It will demonstrate your faith—even cause it to grow. Furthermore, it will do you a world of good now, and in the long run, it will serve you well.
What do you need today that would be best if God provided it? Ask!