Prayers of Petition continued...
The third thing we ought to be asking God for in our prayers of petition is wisdom. When we begin to petition God for wisdom, we are already being wise. When we pray to God to endow us with wisdom, we are following in the footsteps of wise men who came before us, who knew the importance of that which they petitioned God for.
The difference between petitioning God for things, whether a new car, a new home, or a new boat, and petitioning Him for wisdom, is the difference between receiving a fish, and being taught how to fish. When we pray for wisdom and receive it, we will come to realize the futility of worldly things, the worthlessness of temporal things, and the pricelessness of the kingdom of God.
When we receive wisdom from God, it’s not so much that we will know how to get the stuff we would otherwise be praying for, but in wisdom we will come to realize we don’t really need it.
Few feelings are worse than dreaming of achieving something, or attaining something, only to have a bitter taste and little fulfillment once you’ve achieved it or attained it.
I have a certain member of my extended family that has always been driven. He worked hard all his life, started a company after communism fell in Romania, and became a great success in his chosen field. His dream, from early childhood had always been to purchase a brand new Mercedes, and once his company grew to a certain level, it’s exactly what he did. It took a whole week before he became disenchanted with the new car, as he concluded that like his previous car, it had an engine, a steering column, four tires, and four doors. There was nothing magical about the new car, and even the ‘new car smell’ went away after a little while.
The point of this small addendum is to once more reacquaint ourselves with the truth that the only permanent joy, the only permanent peace, and the only permanent fulfillment in this life come from God.
Everything fades, whether beauty, the shine of a new automobile, the sleek lines of a new boat, or the awed feeling of a new home. Beauty withers, cars get scratched, boats sink, and our once new homes become usual and routine.
When our lives revolve around attaining something –whatever that something might be- when we finally attain it, we will grow disenchanted with it, inevitably going on to desire something else for which we will labor and toil, only to be let down again.
Wisdom gives us the ability to define and identify our priorities, not through the prism of our wants, but through the prism of our needs.
Long ago, a man prayed for an understanding heart, and the ability to discern good and evil, and it is these attributes that God defined as wisdom.
1 Kings 3:5, “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’”
1 Kings 3:9-12, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: ‘because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.”
True wisdom lies not in our ability to solve algebraic equations in our minds, nor in our ability to memorize all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but in our ability to discern between good and evil.
Throughout the centuries man has attempted to redefine the meaning of true wisdom, but God’s definition will forever be evident in His word. True wisdom, godly wisdom, is possessing an understanding heart, and being able to discern between good and evil.
We all need wisdom, and we can all attain wisdom. Wisdom is not reserved for those with graying hair, it is not reserved for those with diplomas, it is not reserved for pastors or deacons, nor is it reserved for professors and teachers. God possesses all wisdom, it is His to give, and He promises to give it to those who ask it of Him.
Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God gave Him wisdom. No, we are not Solomon; God has not appeared to us in a dream and said ‘ask! What shall I give you?’ but He does say in His word that if we lack wisdom, we ought to ask it of Him.
James 1:5-6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
To those who believe God to be a respecter of persons, and a Father who plays favorites, this passage ought to dispel the misconception once and for all. God doesn’t just give wisdom to the ‘special people’, He doesn’t just give wisdom to the evangelists, or the preachers, He gives to all liberally, and without reproach. If we desire wisdom, petition Him for wisdom, and He will give us wisdom. Ask Him in faith, ask Him without doubting, and the wisdom you desire will be given to you, because God promised it would be so.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.