What Do You Want Me To Do For You?

“What do you want me to do for you?”
While reading through the book of Mark earlier this year, I was struck by this question Jesus asked Bartimaeus, a blind beggar from Jericho (Mark 10:46-52). What I didn’t realise until now was that Jesus asked the exact same question to James and John, two of his closest disciples, which is recorded a few verses earlier in the exact same chapter (Mark 10:36)! When something is repeated so close together in the word of God, surely it’s worth paying attention to. Let’s compare and contrast these two stories (with the second story first).
Story 11
The story of “Blind Bartimaeus” is familiar to many. Jesus is going through Jericho with his disciples on his way to Jerusalem when this beggar sitting on the roadside starts making a ruckus calling out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” People try to silence him, yet he cries out all the more. He didn’t want his chance to pass. Jesus stops and invites him to come, and then addresses him personally with that very straightforward question. Straightforward question, straightforward answer: “I want to see” (Mark 10:51). The response was instant… Bartimaeus received his sight and began following Jesus down the road.
What stood out to me was the fact it would have been quite obvious to anyone observing that what he wanted was to see. By this time, Jesus was well known for performing miracles of healing. The fact that Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus as the “Son of David” indicates he had heard of all Jesus had done and had come to recognise Jesus as the Messiah2Yet Jesus wants him to state specifically his request.
Story 23
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, had been following Jesus from the beginning (Matthew 4:21-22). By this time, it would have been close to three years that they had been journeying with Him. They, too, believed Jesus was the Messiah, but from the request we hear from them in his story, perhaps they still didn’t quite understand what this Messiah’s mission was. They went to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you” (Mark 10:35). The reply from Jesus was that straightforward question: “What do you want me to do for you?” The brothers’ request was “grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left in your glory.” This time the response from Jesus was not so straightforward. “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or to be baptised with the baptism with which I am baptised?” There is then further dialogue with the brothers about what awaited them in the future and a lesson about what it means to truly rule, which looks much more like being a servant than a master (Mark 10:39-45).
In this instance, the brothers came to Jesus with a very different attitude and a very different approach to Bartimaeus, yet Jesus still wants to hear their request. Jesus can’t give them what they want because they don’t understand the big picture, but he can help them learn more of His kingdom ways in the process.
What can we learn from the interaction with Jesus in these two stories?
  1. Jesus wants us to tell Him the specifics of what we desire. Sometimes in our prayer life we might have the attitude of “Jesus knows it all anyway so why does it matter whether I ask or not?” Yet because Jesus is relational, he wants us to share our hearts with Him.
  2. Jesus wants to respond. Sometimes we’ll get an immediate positive response like Bartimaeus. But sometimes we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t know the whole story of what He’s doing. In this instance, allow Jesus to realign your motives and teach you His ways.
  3. Our attitude in prayer says a lot. Maybe we have been following Jesus for a long time and feel like we have a certain “right” for Jesus to do what we want – we can get “comfortable” in our approach to Him when we should be more like Bartimaeus who calls on the mercy of Jesus.
Let’s not be afraid of being very specific with Jesus, but let us also humbly listen for His response.
What do you want Jesus to do for you today?
May you hear the heart of Jesus for you as you pray.
With love and blessings,
Lyndal Walker
International Prayer Director
On this day of prayer and fasting, spend some time reflecting on what you really would like Jesus to do for you personally and in your ministry.
Write down your requests in two columns, personal and ministry (example below)
Jesus I want you to:
  • Heal me from cancer
  • Provide me with a car
  • Reveal to me your love
  • Provide $10,000 for a ministry project
  • Bring two new workers to our city
  • Bring to salvation those three young people I’ve been witnessing to
Next month, go back through your list and see which requests have been answered, and for those that haven’t been, ask the Lord to speak to you about what He’s teaching you and how to realign your heart with His.
P.S. I will be having a three-month sabbatical from the middle of December. For the first three months of 2022 you will be hearing from some guest writers to encourage and inspire you in prayer.
May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our wonderful Saviour and may you enter the new year with hope for the future.
1 Also in Matthew 20:29-34, where it recounts two blind beggars being healed, and Luke 18:35-43

2 Son of David was a popular way of addressing Jesus as the Messiah, because it was known that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David (Isaiah 9:7). [note from Life Application Study Bible]
3 Also in Matthew 20:20-28 where it is the mother who comes to Jesus with her sons to make the request