Prayer Isn’t Aladdin’s Lamp – The Answerer’s Perspective
Key Bible Verse: And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. – James 4:3
Bonus Reading: Philippians 4:19-20
Say you’re planning a week’s vacation for your family in the Smoky Mountains. You pile the kids in the car and head for Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
If you were traveling from our city—Louisville, Kentucky—you’d probably think, We’ll make a pit stop at Berea. That’s about a third of the way. Then we’ll fill up with gas and eat lunch near Knoxville. That’ll get us to Gatlinburg in about five hours.
Suppose a half-hour from home your 14-year-old son announces: “Some of my friends are going to Cancun for vacation. I don’t want to go to the Smokies. Let’s go to Cancun!”
That request isn’t going to be answered affirmatively no matter how hard he begs. Going to Cancun is neither in his best interest nor in your budget! Some of our requests seem as silly as that to God.
But let’s say that an hour down the road your 5-year-old says, “Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom.” You say, “We’re going to stop in about a half-hour, if you can wait.” But he insists, “I really need to go to the bathroom.”
In that case, love causes you to alter your plans to fit a reasonable request from a child you want to be happy and comfortable.
—Bob Russell in When God Answers Prayer
My Response: I’ll thank God for sifting my true needs from my cravings.
Thought to Apply: God answers prayers one of four ways: “Yes,” “No,” “Wait,” and “You’ve gotta be kidding!” —Source Unknown
Adapted from When God Answers Prayer (Howard, 2003).