love the way the leper asked Jesus for healing
in Luke 5:12-16. He fell before Jesus’ feet
and begged Him. He said, Lord, if you are willing,
you can make me clean." This is
how we all need to pray.
First, the man falls before Jesus and begs Him. This man is fully committed
to his prayer. He brings his whole self—body, mind and soul—before
Jesus. He calls Jesus Lord. He addresses Him with honor and respect. What
an honor we have to bring our requests before the God of the Universe. This
should drive us to our knees. We should gladly fall before Him the undeserving
beggars that we are.
I also admire that statement he makes, You can make me clean. This is vital
to effective prayer as well. Do you believe that Jesus can do what it is
that you are asking of Him? Do you believe that he can heal a man covered
with leprosy? This man’s condition must have been near fatal. It
was definitely an advanced case of the disease for which there was no known cure. This
man knew something the doctor’s didn’t know. There was no cure
on earth for this disease, but he believed with all his heart that there was
a cure from heaven. He understood God’s power; he knew that against
all odds Jesus could make him not just better but clean. He believed that
God had the power to make him clean, cure him, and restore him back to health.
The key to his prayer were the words, if you are willing. God
had to be willing for this man who was covered with leprosy to be clean. God
had the power, He was God and the leper was the humble beggar. The leprous
man acknowledged that Jesus could make him clean, but Jesus had to be willing. The
only if in this scenario from the leper’s point of view was that Jesus
had to be willing. The leper didn’t know if Jesus was willing, but
he did know that Jesus could heal him.
As you read further, you will discover that Jesus was indeed willing. He
was even willing to reach out and touch this untouchable man. First Jesus reached
His hand out to him and touched Him, then He said the words the leper longed
to hear. "I am willing, he said, Be clean! And immediately the
leprosy left him" (Luke 5:13).
There is another example when someone knelt before God and prayed a similar prayer,
but the answer was not the same. The Someone was Jesus Himself as He fervently
prayed in the garden, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done"
(Luke 22:42). Jesus knew the importance of cushioning His prayers
with submission to God’s absolute willingness. Like the
leper, Jesus knew that God was capable of great things. He
considered the possibility that there was another way for the sins
of the world to be redeemed. He conceived of the possibilities
of the God He knew as Father. In Jesus’ case, God’s
will was for Him to continue on His journey to the cross. Once
Jesus knew God’s answer, He got up and faithfully walked the
path He was destined to walk. When God is not willing, it is
because this is the best way. If God had not been willing to
heal the leper, the leper would have reached heaven much sooner than
He did. God was not willing to let us die without hope of reconciled
relationship with Him. This meant that Jesus had to walk that
dreadful path that produced such miraculous results. When God
is not willing to answer our prayers in the affirmative, we must
be like Jesus and trust that this is the best way. Always believe
that God is willing to do what is best for you from an eternal perspective.