by Pastor Peter Bean
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Ask for whatever you want me to give you (1 Kings 3:5).
I think we all know this story and what Solomon asked for! Except, despite the heading in my Bible (and I suspect in most), the story is not about what Solomon asked for, as sensible and wise as it was. But it is about how God answered.
By the way, Solomon didn’t actually ask for wisdom: he asked for a discerning heart. A subtle difference perhaps – but significant. When you read this entire passage, to me, what is important is God’s presence and actions. God takes the initiative.
The Lord appears to Solomon, who is a good king, except for allowing other places of worship to flourish (verses 2 and 3). Despite these flaws, God offers Solomon anything. Perhaps showing his wisdom, he takes a humble attitude before God and asks for a discerning heart.
Our generous God then answers his prayer by giving him what he asked for and then much, much more: wisdom, understanding, riches, honour and greatness. God gives and gives and gives.
What do we learn from this? For me, that prayer is not about the words used, the length of the prayer, what is prayed for (although important), or who prays. What we learn is that God provides for our needs and much more. And in reality, I guess we could admit God knows our needs better than we do.
So yes, pray. Pray for whatever you want (although it will help if it aligns with what God wants!). Pray as you can, not as you can’t. Expect God to answer with grace and generosity, despite your flaws, your words or lack of words. And then live expectantly, allowing the Holy Spirit to bless you and equip you to be the best person you can be, living in God’s grace and generosity.
Generous God, thank you for providing what I need and so much more. Help me to live in your blessing and so be a blessing to others. Amen.
Peter is often out tending his garden – with 83 fruit and nut trees and extensive native bushes, he says there is a lot to do! Other times, he will be walking his dog, reading (too many books at a time), enjoying his family (15 grandchildren!), and occasionally writing – poetry, opinion pieces, devotions! To keep out of mischief, he is currently teaching himself to play the piano and is writing a paraphrase of each psalm. You can read these on his website, Creative Walking.