He came to me crying, blood dripping down his raw, skinned knee.
I shifted into triage-mode by shuffling around the kitchen to retrieve the first aid kit and take care of the pain.
The pain. I can’t stand it when my babies are in pain.
I found the kit, put him up on the kitchen counter, and started to do my mom thing.
“Mama, it’s not my knee that hurts,” he said.
Befuddled, I look into his chocolate eyes and ask what it is that’s making him cry.
“He pushed me down and I’m sad,” he answered.
He didn’t care so much about the knee. Sure, it hurt but he knew it would heal in a few days.
But a broken heart can take a little bit longer to heal.
I assumed I knew what he needed me to do to help him so I didn’t even ask.
Immediately, I was reminded of one of my favorite stories of Jesus in the gospels: when he healed the two blind men on the side of the road.
It’s not a story we hear too much about, really. There are far more stories of Jesus’ healing that receive more attention and fanfare.
But this quiet little story says so much:
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Do you see how Jesus doesn’t assume the blind men want to be healed of their blindness? Maybe they are perfectly happy being blind. Maybe instead of being able to see, they want to be cured of the bitterness left behind in an unforgiving heart. Maybe they have suffered with the resentment of a sibling. Maybe they feel alone.
Jesus didn’t assume He knew what they needed.
Yes, He knew what they wanted to be healed from because He is God and all-knowing.
But He wanted to hear the blind men say it.
He wanted them to acknowledge their need and ask for it.
When they did, He had compassion on them and restored their sight.
Maybe we think our prayers don’t matter. Maybe we wonder why we even do it because doesn’t God have it all planned out anyway? Maybe we feel selfish or as though we don’t trust Him when we ask for specific things.
The truth is . . . our prayers do matter to Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
And what if He already took into account the prayers we prayed and they influenced the outcome to be what He planned based on our own prayers? If He’s all-knowing, then He knows about the prayers you are going to pray even before you pray them.
Lastly, we are His children. If any of my children need or want something within reason (not a $350 ride-on sports car), I want to know about it. If they’re feeling sad at school, I want to know. If they really want a new toy, I want to guide them in ways they can earn the money to purchase it. If they are lonely, I want to arrange a play date. Like me, He can’t stand when His babies are in pain, either.
And yes, there will be times when I have to say “no” as a parent but it might not be “no” forever – it might just be “no” for now.
God does care what we want – big or small. He may not always say “yes” on our timing but it doesn’t mean He won’t ever say “yes.” He just wants you to talk to Him and specifically ask for the desires of your heart because while He’s all-knowing, He wants YOU to know what you need, too.
Dear God, thank you for always loving me and giving me undeserved grace and mercy. You are a God of so many chances. Lord, I pray for my own prayer life. I pray you will give me the confidence to be bold when I speak to you, the ability to train my mind not to wander to my to-do list, and trust in you despite prayers that aren’t answered in the way I envisioned them to be answered. Amen.
Recommended resources:The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson, Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin, and Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sara Young.