Ever struggle with what to pray for and how to pray? Learn a few lessons from the leper in Luke 5:12-15.
This man is full of leprosy, which means he has an advanced case. When he sees Jesus approaching, Luke 5:12 says he implored Jesus, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” Here are six things we learn from this simple request:
1. Recognize our condition. You come as a beggar, a leper, a nobody. You are not making an exchange with God. You have nothing to offer. Anything God grants is strictly by His grace and out of His love.
2. Implore. The leper “implored” Jesus. The word is very strong. It is more than a request. It is more than a prayer. It is all out pleading, a tearful and earnest begging. When used all by itself, it can be translated, “Please!” This is not a half-hearted prayer. This leper knows his need, and is not afraid to ask. He asks with all his energy and emotions. This is what it means to implore.
3. Ask Jesus. The leper doesn’t turn to another leper. He doesn’t turn to one of the apostles. He doesn’t even turn to the priest. He knows that none of them can help. He turns to Jesus. When we pray, we must turn to God alone. Jesus instructs us to pray to the Father (Matt 6:9), but this does not mean that we cannot pray to Jesus.
4. Ask humbly. The leper says, “If you are willing.” Though he is imploring, begging, pleading for Jesus to answer, he does not make demands. Again, this is due in part to his stance as a leper. He is not in a position to make demands. Today, when some pray, it seems like they are making demands of God. Some Christians even have the audacity to command God. They think this is praying with faith. I’m not sure God sees it that way.
5. Ask simply. There is no long, wordy explanation of why the leper is where he is at now, no attempt to “soften” Jesus up by telling Him how great and wonderful and awesome He is, no repetition of the name of Jesus. Just a simple, straight-forward, honest request.
6. Obey. After praying, the leper obeyed the instructions of Jesus. Prayer is not an end in itself. You cannot pray and think you have done your part, so now God must do His. No, you must often seek to be an answer to your own prayer. This does not mean we answer own prayers, but neither do we pray, then sit back, twiddle our thumbs, and wait for God to act.