He fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12).
Willing? Jesus, are you willing to heal me? The guy was desperate. He was covered with leprosy–a terminal case. His condition was hopeless. Lepers were untouchables. So he was ostracized. An outcast. Jesus was his last ditch effort. Face in the dirt, he crushes any remnant of pride…and begs. The plea is to the point. Just ten words. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus answers in half as many words and ignites a miracle. “I am willing. Be clean!”
Let’s take a minute to meditate on this short passage in a different translation:
While he was in one of the towns, Jesus came upon a man who was a mass of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he prostrated himself before him and begged, “If you want to, Lord, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, placed it on the leper, saying, “Certainly I want to. Be clean!” (Luke 5:12, 13 J.B. Phillips).
Notice that Phillips uses the word “want” instead of “willing.” The word in the Greek, thelo can mean “want, will, desire,” or even “wish” Thelo also indicates a “pressing on to action.” Jesus not only wanted to and was willing to heal the guy. He executed. Without hesitation.
The leper’s plea can be considered a prayer. The word, “beg,” or deomai, describes a specific, urgent prayer. The answer came swiftly. His desperate cry for healing was consistent with the will of God for that man in that moment. Alignment with God’s will is a vital component of prayer, as Jesus taught His disciples in”The Lord’s Prayer:”
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).
In the original language, this prayer is more of a demand than a request . It is better translated: “Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as in heaven!” God’s will is done perfectly in heaven–so heaven becomes the model for our earthly prayers. It’s as if Jesus wants us to shake our fist and shout a bit as we claim God’s will to be done on an earth still crawling with enemies.
My short answer on how to know God’s will is this: Read His Word. Saturate your heart daily. Grow so close to your Good Shepherd that you know His will, obey His will, pray His will. This is called abiding and is the secret to a power-filled prayer life. Are you willing?