Today’s Reading: Matthew 20:20-34 and 21:18-22; Mark 10:46-52 and 11:12-14,20-25
What is heavy on your heart? What are you praying for right now? What do you need to see God do? This morning’s study continues where we left off yesterday. Jesus taught us to pray – to bring our requests to God. Jesus also taught us how to pray – with SHAMELESS PERSISTENCE and CONFIDENT BOLDNESS. Jesus taught us to have faith when we pray.
Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” – Matthew 20:20-22
What is your reaction to this confident boldness displayed by James and John? We can learn from their reaction to Jesus’ question when we look at their heart. They were willing to suffer for Christ and they longed to be as close to Jesus as possible, in life and in death.
Pray sacrificially with a heart that is willing to suffer for Christ…
Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or on my left. My father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:23-28
We learn from Matthew 20 that God wants us to pray with confident boldness that comes a heart of faith – a heart that is willing to suffer for Christ and a heart that is humbly prepared to serve others.
Pray for opportunities to serve and not to be exalted or glorified…
As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” – Matthew 20:29-30
Can you hear the passion in their voices? Can you hear the desperation and the desire to be healed?
Pray with passion…
“Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them.
But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus is giving these two men the opportunity to say specifically what they want him to do for them. He knows the desire of their heart and their physical need is obvious, but Jesus allows them the opportunity to define what they want him to do and why. It is in this moment that the crowd sees the faith of two men who desire nothing more than to see the face of Jesus.
Pray specifically. What are you asking Jesus to do for you today?
Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him. – Matthew 20:34
In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.
The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” – Matthew 21:18-20
Pray confidently, knowing what Jesus is capable of accomplishing…
Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” – Matthew 21:21-22
Perhaps these words of Jesus are hard to receive because you have not experienced the answer your heart desires when you pray. I have definitely been there. This reminder is good for me to hear. I pray God gives me the faith to…
Pray for anything. Pray in faith and without doubt. Pray with persistence and confidence.