For blind Bartimeus it was just another day to earn his living by begging, after all, what else could a blind man really do? However, his ears had compensated for his blindness as he grew more attentive, and he knew something unusual was happening this day. He grasped the robe of a passerby and asked what all the commotion was about. Jesus is coming through. Bartimeus had heard of Jesus, and what’s more he heard that he healed blind people. Immediately, he desperately cried out: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Those around him tried to shut him up but he only cried the more loudly (Luke 18:33-39).
Desperation eliminates the inhibitions and enables a person to do everything they possibly can. It has a sense of urgency that won’t be put off. For this man, it meant crying out at the top of his lungs. Bartimeus knew his own need. He may have been blind in physical sight, but he could see inside, and he knew he needed Jesus’ touch. He had spiritual sight. The worse blindness is when a person doesn’t know their own neediness of God’s touch in their life.
Bartimeus teaches us how to do effective prayer. First, he recognized his own need and called out to Jesus. He did so with persistence regardless of who tried to shut him up. He also had a sense of urgency that was brimming with enthusiasm. Nothing quenches prayer like indifference. God loves it when people get exciting about finding him. Jeremiah said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). It is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt 5:6).
Jesus’ response was remarkable. Despite the fact that there were thousands of people following him and many other needy people, he stopped for Bartimeus (Luke 18:40-43). Jesus stops and answers the prayer for mercy that is persistent and urgent and not the indifferent and arrogant prayer.
Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you” (Luke 18:41). Jesus wanted him to articulate his need, and that is exactly what prayer is all about. The blind man was ready and said, "Lord, I want to see” (Luke 18:41). The story of blind Bartimeus is a window into prayer. When we cry for mercy with sincere and persistent hearts, the savior will hear our cries. Jesus said to the man, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (Luke 18:42). This was no extraordinary faith, just simple faith well placed—in Jesus Christ as the healer and savior.