21 Day Prayer Experiment – Day 5
Previously, on Day 3 of our prayer experiment, we asked the question, how do we know what to ask God for? We determined the need to find His highest and best desire and ask for that. In doing so, God will give us other “sub-blessings” as well. Finding his highest and best desire comes through our seeking of Him and our relationship with Him. Today, I want to delve into how to get answers from God.
Dr. Yonggi Cho, pastor of one of the million member church in Seoul, Korea, once said these words, “God does not answer vague prayers.”
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, the scripture doesn’t hint that there was any hesitation from Solomon. He knew what he was going to ask for. I wonder if he was expecting and waiting for God to appear to him? I’m sure he heard his father, David, share stories of his God encounters and may have said in his heart, “God will appear to me too, and when He does, I know exactly what I will ask Him for!” There is a good possibility Solomon may have rehearsed that moment in his mind beforehand. Of course, Solomon’s request to God’s “blank check” statement (Ask for whatever you want Me to give you) is classic, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours (see 2 Chronicles 1:10)?” Because he asked for wisdom to lead God’s people instead of riches and honor, God gave him both! He was both the wisest and richest man that had ever lived up to that time. As we look at Solomon’s request, here is the first lesson we can pull from his wisdom.
After discerning God’s highest and best desire, Solomon asked specifically. There was no vagueness or uncertainty about his request. Solomon didn’t simply say, “I need help God!” I wonder what God’s reply to this request may have been? “Yes Solomon, I know. Why do you think I came? I came to offer my help, that’s obvious, but what kind of help do you need? I can help in a multitude of ways. What is it that you really need; strength, advisors, an army, wisdom, or money? Solomon, what is it that you want Me to do for you?” Solomon knew better than to get an audience with the King and to ask vaguely or ask amiss. He wasn’t going to leave it to chance. He asked for exactly what He needed and for God’s highest and best – wisdom! In doing so, God rewarded him with riches and honor as well. How can God answer our prayer if we don’t even know what we are asking for? Consider the difference in these requests:
God, I need help! What kind of help?
God, I need money! For what?
God, I need wisdom! Why?
As a parent, I couldn’t answer these requests or offer help. They are too vague. Now, imagine if we approached God this way:
God, I need help to finish my paper on time. Will you help me to study and write effectively? Of course, I can help you with that!
God, I need money to buy my books this semester. Can you provide for me? Of course I can. I was waiting for you to ask.
God, I really need wisdom for my marriage. I don’t know how to talk to my husband to bring up this sensitive issue. Can you give me wisdom? Why yes, I would love to help you with that and along the way, I will also give you humility so he will receive it well!
God, how do I lead these people in our church this year in a way that they are going to grow spiritually and become passionate followers of Jesus? Please give me wisdom and vision. Why yes, I would love to do that! And by the way, I will give you all the resources you need to accomplish that vision.
The scenarios are endless. The encouragement from Solomon’s request: Specific prayers lead to effectiveness.
How can you define your prayers today?