Do We Want God, or Do We Want a Genie?
By Wayne Harmon
I’ve been reviewing just about every aspect of my life. I guess that’s part of growing older. One of the things I have been looking at is prayer.
I grew up in church. I was taught early in my life that I could go to God with my needs and wants, and that He would answer my prayers.
Most of my prayers have been, “Give me that. Fix this. Change them.”
Those aren’t prayers. Those are wishes.
The Bible is used as an Aladdin’s Lamp. Find the right verses to rub, and God has to “honor His Word” by granting me my requests.
Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” (NLT)
I John 5:15, “And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” (NLT)
John 14:14, “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (NLT)
“There, Lord. I have found three verses from the Bible that promise that you will answer my prayers. Now, honor YOUR WORD!”
“I need a new car. Give me one.”
“I’m sick. Fix my body.”
“My co-worker is a jerk. Change him.”
“Those are my desires, requests and prayers. Do it.”
That is so very, very wrong, and I am guilty.
In a few short years that new car will be an old one.
This body will one day die.
And the jerky co-worker may well be offering the same prayer about me.
So what is the purpose of prayer? Why should I “bother” God with my needs, desires and requests? Is it of any benefit at all?
Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything which we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
PEACE. That is what we are really seeking when we “go to God in prayer”. Peace is not just an absence of conflict or inner turmoil. Peace is the complete, total and eternal confidence that we are finally reconciled to God through Jesus.
I’m going to have desires. I’m going to have things that need to be fixed. I’m going to have relationships that need to be changed. And I can talk to God about them, thanking Him that He has brought me this far in life. And I can have confidence in His Peace.
Peace. That’s the difference between having God and having a genie.
Copyright 2015: Wayne Harmon