Someone has proposed a Dial-a-Prayer line for atheists. You dial the
number; it just rings and rings. No one answers. When we pray – thank
God! – He does hear us. In this text, a blind beggar beside the road
heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He began to shout,
“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus heard and heeded his
prayer. And He will hear us when we call, especially if it is . . .
I. Earnest and Urgent Prayer.
Bartimaeus was serious about gaining the ear of Jesus. He did more
than mumble a pious wish; he shouted aloud to the passing Savior.
Elijah is another example of getting serious with prayer. James said:
“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not
rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain . . . ” (James 5:17-18
NIV. Cf. 1 Kings 17:1 and 18: 41-45).
II. Persistent Prayer.
When Bartimaeus called out to Jesus, “many rebuked him” (v. 48).
Their rebuke just made him shout all the more: “Son of David, have
mercy on me.”
Skeptics and secularists seek today to silence your prayer and mine.
If you have to pray, they say, at least keep quiet about it. Keep it
out of the public sphere. Religion is a private matter, they say.
Secular Humanists can be very public about their beliefs and
disbeliefs, but praying people should be ashamed to show their faces.
We must be silenced if we dare to voice a prayer in public. When I
was a child I often heard that children were to be seen but not
heard; now we are told that praying people ought not to be seen or
heard. ABut he shouted all the more . . . (v. 48). Jesus honored that
III. Specific Prayer.
Little Frederick was saying his prayers one night. His mother tiptoed
up and heard him say, “And please make Tommy stop throwing things at
me. You may remember, I’ve mentioned this before. He’s still doing
it.” Frederick was persistent and specific.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 51).
He had called for mercy, but what specifically did he seek? Sometimes
our prayers are too general. “Bless me.” OK, how about a coin in your
beggar’s cup? How about a pat on the back and a kind word or two? How
about a little advise on a better place for begging? No! Blind
Bartimaeus wanted one thing: “Rabbi, I want to see” (v. 51). What do
you need Jesus to do for you?
IV. Believing Prayer.
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you” (vs. 52).
T. Howard Somervell was a mountain climber who became a missionary
doctor in India. In his book After Everest, he wrote about a teacher
in a mission school for boys. He came on a stretcher with a serious
leg infection. X ray revealed a tubercular disease top to bottom.
Amputation was the only way to save his life. But the patient asked,
“Will you give me three weeks? I want to try the effect of praying
about it.” Three weeks later, true to his promise, he came back. He
hobbled in with a walking stick. He was much better but not yet free
from the disease. After three more weeks of prayer with family and
friends, he was found to be healed. He soon returned to teaching.9
Fanny Crosby, who composed over 9,000 hymn poems, was at a prison
service in Manhattan, when she heard a prisoner call out in a pitiful
voice, “Good Lord! Don’t pass by me!” That evening she wrote the
words of one of her best known hymns: “Pass me not O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry. / While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass
Sermon brief provided by: Austin B. Tucker, a teacher and
writer living in Shreveport, LA.
9. Jack Finegan, Forty Questions and Answers on Religion, NY: Association, 1958, pp. 56-57.
10. Bernard Ruffin, Fanny Crosby, NY: Pilgrim, 1976, p. 102.