Do you know who is the ultimate prompt engineer?

We are fast entering this age of artificial intelligence, with big data feeding into machine learning, and the aggregated data becoming useful for collective computing to anticipate the human tendencies and pattern recognition of common answers to frequently asked questions. It dawned upon me during a recent conversation, that we are moving from flat 2-dimensional queries based on keywords and phrases that’s submitted to search engines, to a more multi-layered query called prompt engineering (cf. wikipedia). And to get better answers to what we’re seeking, handcrafting a more precisely descriptive question, called prompt engineering, is the new competency and skill that’s becoming quite valuable.

For people of faith, or not, there’s one person in history who is a master of question-asking. The ultimate prompt engineer is Jesus Christ.

As we’re enamoured with the possibility of finding answers to questions through artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning, the most profound reversal is how Jesus asked us humans, you and I, the best questions to unlock the depths of the human heart. If we only had ears to hear, and eyes to see.

In fact, Jesus’ asked many questions. By one account, three hundred and seven, according to Martin B. Copenhaver and his book titled, “Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered.”

Why did Jesus’ ask so many questions, and answered few? Such a contrast to what many churches and pastors do today, right? (cf. Why Jesus Never Stopped Asking Questions; 6 Questions Jesus Asked (And The Powerful Truth You Need To Know); Discovering The Power And Purpose Of The Questions Jesus Asked; Why did Jesus ask so many questions?

Jesus’ prompt engineering is asking the questions to help us discover the true longings and real yearnings of what we really want. With over 300 questions, Jesus probed the depths of the human mind, heart, and soul, in so many ways. We have answers that we know not of, call it confirmation bias, call it desires, convictions, beliefs, preferences, all of those things embedded deep within from nature and nurture, that colors how we engage the world and the ways we respond and react with people around us, in person and online.

What do you want?

There’s one question that Jesus asked repeatedly, five times, in the Gospels. Here’s the Bible references to where Jesus asked, “What do you want?”

Matthew 20:32 > “What do you want me to do for you?” (to 2 blind men sitting by the roadside)

Mark 10:51 > “What do you want me to do for you?” (to a blind man named Bartimaeus)

Luke 18:41 > “What do you want me to do for you?” (to a blind beggar near Jericho)

John 1:38 > “What do you want?” (to two disciples of John)

John 5:6 > “Do you want to get well?” (to the invalid by the pool of Bethesda)

[cf. Twice it is recorded in the Gospels that Jesus asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38); “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matt.20:32; Mk.10:51; Lk.18:41)]

Erwin McManus noted this, “It’s the questions that Jesus has for us that will change our lives…”

One last thought. And that’s what prayer is: tell God what you want, not demanding, not whining, but honestly and vulnerably.