In the School of Prayer

Tenth Lesson

“What wilt thou?”

Or, Prayer must be Definite.

“And Jesus answered him, and said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee ?”— Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41.

THE LORD had heard the blind man’s outlandish cries, and they had reached His ears. He was aware of what the man desired, and he was prepared to provide it to him. Nevertheless, before He did so, He questioned the man by asking, “What would you have me do to you?”

What would you have me do to you?


He wants to hear the specific expression of his desire, as well as the general prayer for mercy, coming from his mouth. He will not be healed unless he utters those words.

There are still many people who are looking for answers, and the Lord poses the same question to each one of them. These people are unable to receive the assistance they need until the question is answered. Our prayers should not be a hazy entreaty to His mercy or a feeble petition for God’s favor; rather, they should be a clear declaration of the urgent requirements we have. It’s not that the compassionate part of His heart doesn’t hear our cries or isn’t prepared to hear them. On the other hand, He has our best interests in mind when He has this desire. Prayer with this level of specificity allows us to understand our own requirements more. Finding out what our most pressing need is requires us to invest some time and energy in introspection and reflection. It investigates us and puts us to the test in order to determine whether or not our wants are truthful and genuine, such as what it is that we are willing to persist in doing. It prompts us to examine whether the things we want are in line with the teachings of the Bible and whether we have faith that we will be granted those things we pray for. Waiting for an extraordinary answer and making a note of it once we receive it is helpful to us.

And yet, how much of our praying has to be more detailed and meaningful? Some people pray for mercy without understanding what it is that mercy must do for them. Others may make the request to be saved from their sins, but they don’t specify specific sins they are trying to be saved from in the beginning of their petition. Some others pray for the blessing of God on the people around them, as well as for the outpouring of God’s Spirit on their country or the world. But, they do not have a certain location in which they wait and anticipate seeing the answer. The Lord addresses everyone, asking, “What do you want and expect Me to accomplish now?” Every Christian has limited powers, and just as he needs to have his own specialized area of labor in which he works, so does he need to have his own specialty when it comes to his prayers. Every believer has their own immediate family, friends, and community. If he were to take one or more of them by name, he would find that this gets him into the training school of faith and leads to personal and pointed deeds with his God. This would be the case regardless of how many of these he took. It is only in such specific issues that we have claimed answers in faith and received them that our prayers, on a more general level, will be effective, trusting, and heard.

We are all aware that the entire civilized world was taken aback when it was reported that the Transvaal Boers had successfully repelled trained troops at Majuba. And what did they have to thank for their success? In the armies of Europe, the soldier will shoot at the enemy when they are standing in enormous groups, and the soldier will never think to seek precise aim for every bullet that they fire. The Boer had picked up a new skill while playing the hunting game; his well-trained eye understood to send each shot with its own unique message, to seek out and locate its target. This kind of striving absolutely needs to be successful in the spiritual realm. As long as we continue to pray by pouring out our hearts in a number of different pleas without pausing to consider if each petition is being offered with the intention and anticipation of receiving a response, not very many of our prayers will hit the mark. Yet if we genuflect before the Lord as if in the stillness of the spirit, we are to ask ourselves such questions as, What do I want right now? Do I desire it with faith, looking forward to receiving it? Am I at this point prepared to lay it down and let it rest in the arms of the Father? Is it already decided between God and myself that I will have the answer to this question? We ought to make it a habit to pray in this way, so that both God and we are aware of what it is that we truly anticipate from him.

The Lord cautions us against the empty repetitions of the pagan people, who believe that they are being heard because of how much they pray because of how often they pray. We frequently hear prayers that are offered with a great deal of sincerity and fervor, in which a vast number of requests are uttered, but to which the Savior would definitely respond, “What do you desire that I should do unto you?

If I were to find myself in a foreign country for the sake of the company that my father runs, I would most definitely compose two distinct types of letters. There will be letters for the family that convey all of the interactions that love triggers, and there will be letters for the company that give orders for what I require. In some letters, it’s possible to find both of these phrases. The solutions will be the letters that correspond to the questions. It is not necessary for you to respond in great detail to each each sentence in the letters that update us on the family. But, for every order that I place, I am certain that I will receive a response informing me whether or not the item that I requested was shipped. In our interactions with God, the pragmatic side of things must not be neglected. With our admission of need and sin, of love and trust and dedication, there must be a specific statement of what it is that we ask of God and what we anticipate to receive; it is in the answer that the Father delights to offer us the symbol of His approval and acceptance.

But, the teachings of the Master are expanded upon in his words. He does not ask, “What is it that you desire?” But. What would you have me do? It is common to wish for something without actively wanting it. I am interested in purchasing a specific object, but I believe the cost to be unreasonable; therefore, I have made up my mind not to buy it; I want to, but do not will to acquire it. The lazy has the ambition to be wealthy but not the will to really achieve it. There are many people who want to be rescued, yet they end up dying because they do not will themselves to be saved. The will exerts dominion over the entire heart and life. If I have a strong desire to obtain anything that is within my grasp, I will not stop trying until I am successful. In light of this, when Jesus asks us, “What do you want?

It questions if our goal should be to obtain what we want at any cost and at any cost to others, no matter how severe the cost may be. Do you truly desire to have it so much that you will not keep quiet until He hears you, even though He may take a long time to do so? Alas! How many prayers are simply wishes that are voiced for a brief period of time and then forgotten, or prayers that are voiced year after year as a matter of obligation, while we are pleased with the prayer itself even though we do not receive an answer?

On the other hand, one would wonder if it isn’t better to tell God what we want and then let Him decide what’s best for us, rather than trying to force our own will on the situation. Absolutely not. The core of the prayer of faith, which Jesus tried to school His followers in, is that it not only makes known its intention but also leaves the decision to be made by God. This is the essence that Jesus wished to train His disciples in. In circumstances in which we have no way of knowing what God wants, that is the prayer of submission. But, the prayer of faith seeks to locate God’s desire in some promise of the Word and then prays for that thing until it actually happens. According to what is written in Matthew 9:28, Jesus asked the blind man, “Believe ye that I can do this?

In this passage from Mark, Jesus asks his disciples, “What do you want me to do for you?”

He claimed that faith had preserved them in both of these instances,” And thus He answered to the Syrophenician lady, “Great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou will.” Faith is nothing more than the purpose of the will resting on God’s word and saying, “I must have it.” To sincerely believe something is the same as to wish it firmly.

But doesn’t such a will run counter to our dependence on God and our willingness to submit ourselves to His authority? It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the genuine submission that honors God. It is not until the child has completely surrendered his own will to the Father that he is given the freedom and power to will whatever it is that he would like to have. But once a believer has acknowledged that the will of God, as revealed through the Word and Spirit, is also his will, then it is God’s will that His child should use this renewed will in the service of God. This is because the believer has accepted the will of God as his own will. Grace prioritizes, above all else, the sanctification and restoration of this will, which is one of the primary characteristics of the image of God, so that it may be fully and freely exercised. The will is the highest power in the soul. In the same way that a father will entrust his business to a son who has dedicated his entire life to serving the interests of his father and who seeks not his own will but the will of his father, God asks His child in all sincerity, “What wilt thou?” It is often spiritual sloth that, under the appearance of humility, professes to have no will because it fears the trouble of searching out the will of God, or when it is found, the struggle of claiming it in faith. This is because spiritual sloth professes to have no will because it fears the trouble of searching out the will of God. True humility is always found side by side with robust faith, which only seeks to know what is in accordance with the will of God and then boldly claims the fulfillment of the promise, “You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.”

” Teach us to pray, O Lord.”

Lord Jesus! Teach me to pray with all of my heart and strength so that there is no question about what I have asked of you or about what I have asked of myself. I would like to know what it is that I want so that I can write down my prayers here on earth, just as they are written down in heaven, and make a note of each answer as it comes. And may the evidence of my faith in what Thy Word has promised be so clear that the Holy Spirit may work within me the freedom to will that it shall come to pass. Lord! Renewal, fortification, and sanctification of my entire will for the purpose of effective prayer work.

Blessed Savior! I do pray that Thou wilt make known to me the wondrous condescension. You have shown us, and in doing so, you have asked us to say what it is that we would like you to do, and you have also promised to do whatever it is that we would like. O divine Child! I am not able to comprehend it; all I can say is that I have to believe that Thou hast redeemed us completely for Thyself and that Thou art attempting to make the will the most noble aspect of our being. Your most obedient and reliable servant. Lord! I completely and without reservation submit my will to Thee as the authority through which Thy Spirit is to rule over my entire being. Let Him take possession of it, lead it into the truth of Thy promises, and make it so strong in prayer that I may one day hear Thy voice saying, “Great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” Let Him take possession of it, lead it into the truth of Thy promises, and make it so strong in prayer that I may one day hear Thy voice saying “Great is thy faith.” Amen.

Original by Andrew Murray

Revised and Updated by Nathan Zipfel
March 2023


  • Nathan Zipfel

    Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

By Nathan Zipfel

Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

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