(photo from www.hubpages.com)
Anyone who has kids knows what it's like to take them with you grocery shopping. I've gotten where I just will not do it anymore unless I absolutely have to. Not only does it take longer because you have to keep the kids corralled, but it costs more. I bet, if you're like me, as you walk from the car to the front door of the store you say, "...and don't ask me for anything while we're in here."
Why is it like that? My girls are great kids, both of them. One is very quiet, the other, not so much. One very seldom asks for anything, the other, not so much; but I wouldn't trade them for anything. One will ask me for at least a dozen things while we're in satan's playground, I mean, walmart. No matter how many times I tell her, "I'm not getting that," she keeps asking.
If I have heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "Daddy, can I have this?" I know that your kids were probably the same way, and you get to a place where you can actually tune it out. Most of the time, they ask for candy or cupcakes, stuff like that. But what if they actually asked for something that was good for them?
I'm not sure I would be as quick to turn them down if they asked for grapes or whole wheat muffins. As their dad, I've got a decent sense of what's good for them, and what's not. I would like to be able to give them the good things, and really don't mind as much when they ask for those. In fact, if they ask for something like that, I'll probably get it for them, and might even get some stawberries for them too.
There's a story of a man who asked for something that was good for him and wound up getting a whole lot more than he asked for. God told him personally, in a dream, that he could ask for anything he wanted and it would be given to him. My kids would go ballistic if I said that to them. I would never get them out of the store. But this man didn't ask for gold or wealth, a long life, or revenge. He asked for discernment...wisdom. That's pretty smart, no pun intended.
What he got was not only wisdom, but wealth, long life, and peace. There's a lesson there, not only for my kids, but for us as well. The man was Solomon, king of Israel, and in 1 Kings 3 he is given wisdom to rule over God's people. Along with that come riches unparalleled in any other kingdom, long life, and peace in the land.
I think this shows that it's not necessarily a bad thing to ask for something, even Christ told us to ask for what we needed in his name and it will be done. It is better, though, to ask for those things that not only benefit us, but lead us to do our part to bring the kingdom. I will admit, though, that there are times when my prayers are still selfish. I don't ask for new cars or anything like that, but I might not necessarily have the kingdom in mind when I shoot up a prayer here or there.
Now, please understand, prayers for healing of our loved ones, or help in times of crisis, I don't see as being selfish prayers. Nor do I have an answer to the "Why?" question when those prayers seem to go unanswered. I'm just saying that today's reading has made me stop and look a little closer at those times when I say, "Daddy, can I have this?"