In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” Then Solomon said, “…You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in…So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil…”
1 Kings 3:5-6a, 7, 9a
I hope that all of us pray to our Father in heaven, and pray often. Scripture says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). This verse is a command from God which He expects us to obey. If we hope for salvation, prayer is not optional. Since Christ “became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9), we must obey the commands to pray often if we wish to see heaven.
Have we ever stopped to consider about what exactly we pray? Have we ever thought about those for whose benefit we pray? It’s worth considering. After all, we should want the Lord to be pleased with our prayers and answer them positively. Consider the example of Solomon’s prayer, cited above (the full account of which found in 1 Kings 3:5-14). He did not ask that God give him a long life, or lots of wealth. He did not ask that God punish his enemies. Instead, he asked for wisdom and understanding to make the right judgment calls in life. God was so pleased with this that He not only gave Solomon wisdom, but also granted to him all the things for which he did not ask.
We can pray to our heavenly Father about our jobs, our health, our school work, and our finances. There’s nothing wrong with that. We have the example of a man whom God called honorable who prayed for these types of things (1 Chr. 4:9-10). These aren’t bad things to pray about, and praying about such things is certainly better than not praying at all. However, how many of these things will be with us a century from now? Answer: none!
As we assemble to worship each Lord’s day, and as we pray with our families and by ourselves throughout the week, let’s remember to also pray for spiritual matters. These are things which we can keep forever, things such as love, mercy, humility, understanding, meekness, patience, and honesty. These are qualities of the heart which truly matter to God. They will help us reach heaven. It is them, rather than our successes in this world, which matter in the long run. Since “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), we should also pray for the spiritual and physical well-being of others more than for ourselves. What a wonderful blessing it is when Christians, to cite just one example of how we could do this, assemble together to worship God in prayer and list by name all those who have requested prayers from among them and from among the community! How powerful it would be for each of us to think of every lost soul we know and pray for them by name in our private talks with God, asking Him for opportunity, courage, and wisdom to share the good news of Jesus with them and convert them to Christianity! How wonderful it would be for us in our private devotions as well as our public offerings of supplication to consciously list each of the godly traits of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and ask God from our hearts to help us grow in each of these areas! What a truly wonderful manifestation of love, spiritual growth, spiritual insight, concern, and compassion that would be!
We all wish to enter heaven, as we should. So let’s make sure we are aiming at the right target by asking for the best things to help us and everyone else to get there. Let’s seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness before all other things, and He will provide the rest (Matt. 6:33).