DayBreaks for 9/13/18: The Perfect Prayer
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:
From Michael Card’s From the Studio, 7/27/08
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:35-37
“Years ago I wrote lyrics to a song about the Lord’s Prayer. The title was “The Perfect Prayer”. It is perfect simply because Jesus himself spoke it. But there is at least one other perfect prayer in the Gospels and we find it here. “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“We must see this story from a first-century perspective. Everyone would have believed that the man was blind because he had done something to deserve it. Obviously he had sinned, and sinners do not deserve anything. When we understand this, we begin to see that the disciples in the front of the crowd were perfectly justified in trying to shut the man up.”
We have all sat in churches and listened to long-winded prayers. I sometimes believe that people believe they will be heard for their many words. And there are times when many words may be appropriate and called for. But I can’t help but wonder sometimes if they are praying from the heart so that God hears, or if they are praying so that others will hear their “skill” at praying and be amazed and think “How righteous So-and-so must be to be able to pray like that!”
If you’ve ever prayed out loud, you know what the temptation is like to try to impress with the prayer. Even those who refuse to pray out loud often refuse because they think (or say) that they can’t pray “well enough.” What does that mean? They don’t pray well enough for whom?
Praying well enough was never an issue with Jesus. Praying was. It is true, the man was a sinner, and it is true that sinners deserve nothing – at least nothing good. What we have earned by our sinning is death (Rom. 6:23) and nothing more.
But the amazing thing about Jesus, about the good-news gospel, is that Jesus hears prayers of desperation from hearts that are genuine. They don’t have to be fancy, they don’t have to be long. Whenever we pray, we might be wise to limit our prayer to those seven little words, none longer than 5 letters long: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And remember: Jesus seems to delight in lavishing his attention on the undeserving – not those with fancy phrases.
PRAYER: Have mercy on us sinners, Lord Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.