If you pray, "how" do you pray? What do you ask for? And why? Do we think that whatever we ask, of God, it will satisfy (us or Him)? Do we think it will last? Or like everything we own, ever have owned, or ever will own, do we know that it will all turn to dust? And I use the word "own" loosely. What is or our motivation? What is our purpose? What is the point?? The point in living, in dying? What can possibly be worth pursuing?
Here's what I mean by... a beautiful request! In scripture, King Solomon (David's son) asked for something seemingly simplistic. It might even appear that he just wasted an opportunity when God said to him.... "What do you want? Ask, and I shall give it to you." (2 Chronicles 1:7) http://bible.com/59/2ch.1.7.ESV
Wow! Talk about your genie in a bottle scenario! I wonder what I might have asked for. Therein, lies the "wow" of this transaction between God and Solomon.
1. For starters, and this may be the single most important point, A. Solomon recognized who God is, what He had done for, and through, his own father (David). B. He "trusted" that God could do the same with him, and had a desire to do so. Why? Because, like his father's, Solomon's heart was after God. Not perfect! But discernable enough to God, and that should be the aim.
"And Solomon said to God, "You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place." (2 Chronicles 1:8) http://bible.com/59/2ch.1.8.ESV
2. Solomon understood where his own ability came from. If he was doing, or was to do, any real good, that ability was from God. "....for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth." http://bible.com/59/2ch.1.9.ESV Whatever Solomon accomplished.... it was from God. It was for God. It begs me to ask... what if our kings, our leaders, our elected officials thought this way? What if they prayed this way? Do you or I pray this way?
3. So, Solomon asks for the big ticket item! Not wealth. Not fame. Not tangible things at all. "Give me now WISDOM" (emphasis mine) http://bible.com/59/2ch.1.10.ESV "Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?" Solomon could not imagine doing his job, serving his role, living his life ....without God's help. He wasn't intending to try it without God's help, His direction, His plan, His will.
4. God answers BIG, when our motivations are toward His will. "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." http://bible.com/59/jhn.14.13-14.ESV
God answered Solomon, "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." http://bible.com/59/2ch.1.11-12.ESV
God's will, and desire, are that people may know Him, and trust in Him. He does this work "through" us, imperfect people. Solomon wasn't perfect either. But, like his father, his life and will were focused and directed toward God, and the things OF God. He didn't lock himself in a room and only pray? He did pray. Then he acted. He LIVED. He did so, however imperfectly, for God.
We can do the same. It's s matter of changing our thinking, changing our mind, changing our heart.
Oh right... don't miss the end of that last part. Yes, God did bless Solomon with riches. I wonder how it might have been if more riches were what he asked for? I'm glad Solomon asked self-lessly. And in that too, trusting God pays dividends. When God gets the glory, we get the benefit. In this life, or in our eternal life with Him. Do you, will you, trust Him?