What do you wish for?
What is your greatest desire?
What fills your prayers?
My husband and I spent this morning talking together about just this topic. We have been extremely frustrated by well-meaning Christians who "claim" promises of health, happiness, or hoards of other things and then don't receive that which they knew God would provide. We have both had Godly people tell us that we should be very specific when in prayer and expect Him to answer favorably, because after all, God gives us the desires of our hearts. Especially when we are earnestly praying and we are living what we believe to be God's will for our lives. Surely then, He will give us what we want. (slight sarcasm here!)
What do we want?
When it comes down to it, for us, we only want one thing: we want God to be glorified in the life He has provided. Period.
Our human nature occasionally makes us think we want things like new carpet, a fancy gun (that's my husbands), or a Smoothie King smoothie! Sometimes we are cleverly told we should want things like our house to sell, good health, safety, etc. Even our more recent desires to relinquish more of our financial blessings has tempted us to wish for more: so we can give more! These thoughts float around us until we get back to the real center and reason for it all: Jesus.
I recently read (Yancy, Reaching for the Invisible God), "Christians in affluent countries tend to pray, 'Lord, take this trial away from us!' I have heard prisoners, persecuted Christians, and some who live in very poor countries pray instead, 'Lord, give us the strength to bear this trial.'"
I'm pretty convinced God did not create us, provide His Son for us, give us His Spirit, strictly to make our lives comfortable. Comfort does not generally facilitate close bonds and dependency. I believe the Old Testament is filled with examples of this idea fleshed out. I also believe that we are today just like the Israelites so long ago. God created us, provided for us, lives in us to bring glory to Himself through relating with us. When we are dependent on Him, do everything for Him, let go of our lives to be used for Him, He loves it, loves us, and is glorified through our obedience. But He doesn't become our cosmic genie. His goal is to make us more like Jesus, like Himself, because it really is the best option. I really doubt this can happen comfortably at all times. Fortunately, He does in turn provide us strength, joy, and abilities to progress until He determines we've gone as far as we can on this planet. This is a pretty huge idea that could have volumes extrapolated out, but I'll move on.
So with such a big picture, why is it so easy to focus on the little things? I won't say I never ask God to help me with the little things, because I do, I just want the real motive to be to bring Him glory; not to have my wish fulfilled. Who's glory is it if I get new carpet? If I find my contact? Why do I want my house to sell or my friend's child to be healed or my other friend's work to be calm? Is it to bring comfort? Is it to give God the credit and glorify Him? Am I praying that in the horrible times my sister in Christ is trudging through, she will become so focused on Him that it will change her life, or am I just praying for ease?
Are we missing the blessing of being uncomfortable? How can we know how fulfilling our Lord is if we never need Him? Now, before I get an onslaught of messages telling of the blessings of God answering big and little prayers, I am not insinuating that He doesn't, won't, or shouldn't. God does want us to ask Him for things, big and little, but secondary to living fully to glorify Him. I have had some moments of God letting me know how interested He is in me by giving me some of those "genie wishes." I just know that God wants way more for our relationship than that. God wants me to grow and mature in my relationship with Him (which will serve to glorify Him, not me) and that may only come through the bond of a shared trial or other heart check to deny self.
Honestly, I don't intend to pray for trials to come. I imagine they will all on their own. I may just take pause, however, before I pray for them to pass or be removed. Instead I hope I will look for my God's perspective and pray to grow through it. I hope I do the same thing through positive experiences as well!
So, what do you wish for again?