“Jesus, are you willing to heal me?” The man 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 crushed any remnant of pride…and begged. His plea was simple. Just ten words: “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus answers in half as many words and performs a miracle. “I am willing. Be clean!” (Luke 5:12, 13 NIV).
Let’s meditate on this passage in a different Bible version: 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 PHILLIPS).
Notice this version uses the word “want.” The Greek word, thelo, is translated “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 took action!
In an instant, Jesus changed the man’s condition from hopeless to hopeful! The leper’s plea can be considered a type of prayer. The word deomai, translated “beg,” describes a specific, urgent prayer. The leper’s 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 the key to powerful 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). This is a strong petition. It’s an imperative—more of a demand than a request—and 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 template for our earthly prayers. It’s almost as if Jesus wants us to shake our fist and shout as we decree that God’s will be done on an earth still crawling with enemies.
So how do we know God’s will? My short answer 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. And when we pray according to God’s will, our hope springs to life.