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"While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him: Lord, if you are willing — you can make me clean." Luke 5:12
This prayer shows a beautiful faith. The leper had no doubt whatever of Christ's ability to heal him. The only question in his mind, was whether He would be willing to do it. There might be some reason why the Lord would not wish to answer his request. It would be an unutterable blessing — to have this loathsome, terrible leprosy taken away. Jesus could do it — if He wanted to; and He would do it — if it were best that it should be removed. So we find in his brief prayer, acquiescence as well as humility.
This was a prayer, not for spiritual blessing — but for physical blessing; and in such things, we never can know what really is best for us.
A mother may bend over a dying child and plead with affectionate yearning for its life. God will never blame her for the agonizing persistence of her plea — yet she dare not pray willfully. She must end her most intense pleading with the submissive refrain, caught from Gethsemane, "Nevertheless, not my will — but may Your will be done." It may not be the best blessing to her, or to her home — to have her child spared.
Or a man may be threatened with financial bankruptcy. He turns to Christ for help: "If You will — You can save me from this sore loss!" Yes, He can — there is no doubt about that. But will He?
He will — if it is best; for He never chastens — but for His people's good. But will it be a blessing — to have this calamity averted? The man cannot tell. Perhaps it may be necessary for him to suffer this misfortune in his temporal estate — that he may not lose his inheritance in Heaven.
Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is an illustration. He wanted it removed. But no — it was necessary to keep him from spiritual pride, from being exalted above measure.
Prayer should be submissive — as well as earnest. We do not know what we should pray for — nor if what we desire would really bless us.