I always loved those cartoons where someone found a lamp, rubbed it and out popped Robin Williams. Well, once it was Robin Williams. Most of the time it was a magic genie.
And now, boys and girls, what did the magic genie say? You got it. “You’ve got three wishes—and no wishing for 100 more wishes.”
My imagination could shift into overtime thinking about all the loot and goodies I could get with three wishes. Of course it was only play-like.
So, imagine my shock when I stumbled on this in the Bible: “May the Lord grant all your requests.” (Psalms 20:5b, NIV). The Message paraphrase doesn’t sugarcoat this Spirit-inspired wish: “May all your wishes come true!”
That’s in the Bible! Wow! All right! Yes! Oui! Let’s see, what do I want?
Then, I thought, “If God grants all my requests, I had better be very careful about what I request. Hmmm …”
Every “yes” leads us down a road, but that means another path lies untaken, and sometimes that’s the very path we would have loved.
I heard a country song one time about a fellow at a football game who sees his old high school sweetheart from twenty years ago. He had prayed that God would make this person his wife but now as he talked to her twenty years later he said to himself, “I thank God for unanswered prayer.”
“Ask and it shall be given to you,” inspires many prayers, however you better hold on. We might need to pray hard so that we’ll know what to ask for.
If Jesus stopped in front of you and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” as He did for blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:51, what would you say? Do you know what you want? Are you sure you want it?
Lots of people don’t receive because they don’t ask from God. Often the reason is that they really don’t know what they want. If you don’t know what you want you’re going to wander around in circles in life.
World War Two hero Dwight Eisenhower said, “We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.”
How do you know what to ask for?
1. Get guidance from wise people who love the Lord. The young lady inflamed the king and his guests with her wild dance. “Ask me whatever you want to–up to half of my kingdom,” the ruler panted. She didn’t know what to say so she asked her vengeful mother. “John the Baptist’s head on a platter.” I’ll bet she regretted that decision more than once. Be careful about who counsels you about what’s important in life, about the things you should be asking for and pursuing.
2. Get your will in line with His. Notice that when Jesus taught us to pray, we were to surrender our hearts and pray that His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven before we were to ask for anything. When our will is submitted to His, we ask for things that are in line with His will. And He knows what will happen tomorrow. We don’t. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” (Mat. 6:10, 11 NKJV)
3. Learn to delight in the Lord and enjoy His presence. Just like you love your wife, kids, parents, friends, love the Lord above all other things. If the Lord delights you, the desires of your heart will be what please Him and you can just come out with it … ask for it! “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4 NKJV)
The magic genie is busy so he’s not likely to flash out of a lamp and grant wishes to you. But, incredibly, God promises responses to those who ask correctly. Do you know what you want? Are you submitted to Him? Is He your delight?
Then ask, silly!