Based on Jesus interactions regarding a blind man Bartimaeus, we learn the benefits of persistence and specificity in prayer and understand the individual responsibility to assist others in their prayer and effort. Bartimaeus was begging by the roadside when he realized Jesus was passing and recognized an opportunity to seek for better. His behavior illustrates persistence in prayer and human effort, even when others or circumstances appear to discourage you. Further, Christ’s question to Bartimaeus—What do you want me to do for you—is a call to every person to seek specificity in prayer, to understand your prayer purpose better and seek alignment of your purpose with God’s purpose. Also, his instruction to the other people underscores the individual responsibility to assist others in their prayer and effort.
In this bible study, we discuss Christ interactions regarding a blind man named Bartimaeus. We discuss what he told Bartimaeus regarding prayer and what he told others regarding their interactions with Bartimaeus. Based on the blind man’s behavior, we learn about recognizing an opportunity to seek for better through prayer and human effort. Also, we learn about persistence in prayer and effort even when other people or circumstances appear to discourage you.
Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging when he realized that Jesus was passing, accompanied by his disciples and a large crowd. He raised his voice above the crowd and called for mercy from Jesus. Other people tried to discourage him but he persisted and raised his voice even louder. Jesus asked the others to call the blind man to him. The people recognized the invitation as an opportunity for Bartimaeus and called him to come to Jesus. When the blind man came, Jesus asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?” That is, he invited the blind man to be specific regarding what he needs from God. Bartimaeus responded with clarity and specificity: “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus healed him from blindness immediately.
Based on Christ interaction with the blind man, we learn about the need and discuss the benefits of specificity in prayer. Seeking specificity in prayer leads to better understanding of your prayer purpose and what you can humanly do regarding your need. Further, understanding your prayer purpose better will help in seeking to align your purpose with God’s purpose, thereby strengthening your faith. Also, based on Christ instruction to the other people, we learn about assisting others in their prayer and human effort.
To respond to a sin by an associate, provide them an opportunity to repent, even if the person has sinned and repented previously. Provide the opportunity diligently and with persistence. If they repent, accept the matter as resolved. However, if they refuse to repent, separate from them to protect yourself from sin.
We discuss Christ teaching to explain the individual responsibility regarding another person (an associate) that has committed sin. He teaches that you should provide the associate with an opportunity to repent. You should do this even if the person has sinned and repented previously. Also, you need to provide the opportunity diligently and with persistence. Christ describes several steps for escalating your effort by involving an increasing number of people. If the person repents, you should accept the matter as resolved. However, if they refuse to repent, then you should separate yourself from them.
The essence of the message is that a sin by an associate threatens your continued association with them, because you need to separate yourself from any person, thing, or event that may cause you to sin (see previous discussion under Individual Responsibility Regarding Sin). First, you should seek to help the associate to remove the sin. You should do so with diligence and persistence. If the associate repents, then accept. However, if the associate refuses to repent, then separate from him or her to protect yourself from sin.
We discuss specific steps based on Christ teaching for seeking to convince the associate to repent.
In this bible study, we examine examples of successful intercession to understand their common characteristics. We relate the characteristics to the principles of living in the image of God and, thus, reach an understanding of the kinds of intercession that have been effective. Several of the examples are drawn from events that occurred during Christ’s ministry. In such cases, intercession consisted of people going to Jesus directly on behalf of other people. Other examples occurred before Christ or after he had left human form. In such cases, intercession consisted of going to God in prayer on behalf of another.
In all cases, we find that successful intercessions were motivated by compassion and were persistent (ceaseless), selfless, and delivered by faith. Motivation by compassion is important for an intercession because such intercession is consistent with God’s purpose of creating every person to be a channel for his compassion. Christ describes this purpose through the 4th Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled;” and the 5th, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” [Matthew 5:6–7].