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Hear Our Cries for Mercy, Lord

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Matthew 9:29 comes to us in the passage where Jesus heals two blind men. Once again, Jesus gives us a succinct treatise on the power and importance of faith. We can tell that the two blind men who approach Jesus for his help already have a rudimentary faith in him by their words. They cry out to him, “Son of David, have pity on us!”

When they are before Jesus he asks them a question. It is a question that he asks us every time we go to him in our need as well. “Do you believe that I can do this?” (verse 28) They respond devoutly, “Yes, Lord.” That word, Lord, is a clear indication that they believe he is the one who can properly be called by that name. Their response is one that can arise only out of deep need and a true and humble faith. Then Jesus touches each of their eyes and says, “According to your faith be it done to you.”

Of course, the first thing is to recognize that there are blindnesses in our lives, that much of our suffering is due to those blindnesses, or to those sinful habits we have developed over the years,
that we find so difficult to break. This self-awareness is very important. Jesus wants to heal us. But we must first desire to be healed and then believe in the love that Jesus has for us, that is always ready to respond to our faith in him. This is not the only time that Jesus has reminded us that it is our faith that brings about the miracle that Jesus intends for us all along. Jesus wants us to be healed of our blindnesses, our leprosies, and our many, self-inflicted wounds. But more importantly, we must believe that Jesus can do this for us. Do we believe?

In a very famous little book called, “The Way of the Pilgrim,” by an anonymous Russian monk, we see the prayer of these two blind men as our own. The anonymous author’s pilgrimage was initiated after hearing a sermon on the passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray always.” He went in search of the meaning of that. How can one pray when one is eating, or sleeping, or going about one’s daily business? Along the way he visits an old monk who is known for his spiritual wisdom who, when asked by the pilgrim how he could pray continually, answers him with, “I don’t know.” But then, he tells the pilgrim to practice saying a simple prayer, over and over again to himself as he goes on his way. The prayer he gave the pilgrim was this: “Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy (pity) on me a sinner.” The pilgrim began saying this little prayer, over and over again as he went along his pilgrim’s way until, one day, he became suddenly aware of the fact that that prayer was repeating itself over and over again in his mind, even when he was not consciously aware of saying it. It had become a habit of his heart, his soul. It had become his constant prayer. It had become the very cornerstone of his prayer and his faith life. We are all sinners. This prayer is our prayer. Let us make it our habit to cry out to Jesus, “Son of David, have pity on me.” And let us believe that it is Jesus’ constant desire to answer our faith-filled prayer.

Lord, hear our cries for your mercy. Heal us of our wounds, relieve us of our fears, strengthen us where we are weak, so that we may come to know you, to love you, and to serve you in our daily lives. We believe that you can do this for us. Help our unbelief. We pray this in your name Jesus. Amen!

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