Imagine this… God appears to you. Let’s say in the form of a dream. With a smile on His face, He asks you a simple question, “What do you want?”
Solomon doesn’t need to imagine because it actually happens to him.
“That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, ‘What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!’” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT).
But we’re not that blessed—at least, that’s what we think. So let’s keep imagining.
Hey, seriously! What do you want? I mean, if the God of all creation looks you in the eyes and offers to give you anything you ask for, what is it?
Turns out, we’re just as blessed as Solomon. Maybe even more blessed. Because roughly a thousand years later, a guy named Jesus speaks some pretty similar words.
“‘Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened’” (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT).
In my Bible, Jesus speaks these words under a header titled “Effective Prayer.” Not wimpy prayer. Not half-asleep prayer. Effective prayer. I want to take His advice.
Now, let me warn you. God isn’t your genie. You can’t just ask for anything and expect to get it. When God speaks to Solomon—when Jesus speaks to us—the purpose is to encourage and strengthen man’s faith to believe in God’s ability.
That’s not to say He won’t answer your request. What I’m trying to say is this: God will not answer a prayer contrary to His will. In other words, if you ask for a million dollars to buy that sweet car—yeah, that may not be His will!
James speaks about selfish ambition in prayer when he says, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3 NLT).
Similarly, John says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15 ESV).
If we’re honest, though, I don’t believe we desire to take Jesus’ question for granted. I mean, if my Savior is offering to answer any prayer of mine, I’m certainly not going to ask for a new car. More like the salvation of my family members. The healing of my brothers and sisters in Christ. The safety and health of my family.
The power of prayer has come alive to me over the summer.
First, my best friend. In late May, he had a surgery and developed life-threatening complications. I frantically started a prayer chain, receiving multiple responses from people willing to pray. I’ll never forget the day I visited him in the hospital and prayed with him. Today, he’s back to running a mile. God answers prayers.
Second, my family. A few weeks ago, my family and I were traveling home from vacation. We were just outside of Savannah, Georgia, when a log hit the top of our dash and entered our windshield. Thankfully, my dad maintained control, and not a single one of the six passengers was harmed. God answers prayers.
You see, that morning before we left, I wrote these words in my journal: “I pray with all my heart that you would keep us safe and healthy as we begin our LONG travel back home today. Jesus, I pray that your hand of protection and guidance would be upon me and my family.”
I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited. To know that my God hears and answers my prayers. To know that I can ask for anything in His name, and if it matches His will, the request will come to pass.
Does a family member of yours need healing? Is there someone near to your heart who needs saved? What’s keeping you up at night? Today, God is asking His children a question. And He means it. What do you want?