I was recently doing some reading in 2 Chronicles, and read something interesting. (See passage at end of this article or see 2 Chronicles 1:10-12 in your Bible). Solomon – who became King after his father, David – made a request of God at the start of 2 Chronicles. What’s interesting, is that his request had nothing to do with things of the earth. Not riches, not honour, nor any sort of prosperity. His request was that God would grant him wisdom and knowledge, so he could better lead the people. See verse 10 specifically.
I believe Solomon set a perfect example as to how we should pray as believers. Asking for those things which are godly, good, honorable to God, glorifying to God, edifying, and things that can further not only our walk with God, but to further the Gospel and advance His Kingdom. Things like wisdom, knowledge, discernment, self-control, patience, compassion, a Christ-like love, gentleness, humility, and overall, a desire to do God’s will and not our own. Things that are good and pleasing in the sight of God. Things that are for His glory, and not our own. Without selfish ambition.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t to say it is wrong or sinful to request healing of sickness and disease, especially for our fellow brethren. We should pray for each other in all aspects of life! But it is to say, that things like health and finances, are secondary. While things that are spiritual and eternal, are things that should be primary. After all, we’re told in Colossians 3:1-4 to set our mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Our focus is to be on Christ and things that can bring more glory to Christ. Again, that isn’t to say praying for health is wrong, just that it should be secondary to praying for spiritual things.
It is very easy for us to slip into prideful pray. Prayer that is “me” centered. Perhaps things aren’t going as you’d like in your life, in any aspect. God is sovereign. Let us pray in those times, things like “God, how can I bring You glory and honour in a time like this?” Perhaps your spouse is sinning against you (ultimately against God). It’s very easy to want to pray for your spouse, out of selfish ambition. Do we pray for them because we want to feel better? Or do we pray for them, because we want to see them bring honour and glory to Christ, and not sin against their King and Savior? What’s the motive? Do we pray for things because it’s our own will? Or do we pray that if it’s God’s will, that it be done? It can be a fine line, that I myself am guilty of falling into. We must pray out of a motive to want more glory and honour to be given to God, that should always be our motive.
Now, all that said. Is it wrong to have earthly possessions? I don’t believe so. But again, is it your focus? Idolatry seeps in from every angle, often very subtly! If God blesses us with money, or whatever else, what do we do with it? Do we use it for God’s glory? Do we use it wisely? I believe we’ve all been guilty at one time or another, of using what God’s given us unwisely. We must always remember to pray for wisdom in how to use things we have. Perhaps, pray that God would show you how you can use what He’s given you, for His glory and to further advance His Kingdom!
So then, it seems we can take a lot from that portion of Scripture. Are our prayers out of good heart, or out of selfish ambition? Let us remember, everything belongs to God. We are merely loaned things, to use for His glory. There are many false teachers now days, who teach a false prosperity gospel. A false gospel that is man centered, rather than Christ centered. That is focused on the things of this world, rather than the things of above. I’m sure most of you have heard it before: “God wants you to be healthy and wealthy. He wants you to have an abundance of riches!” These are the people spending millions of dollars on private jets, rather than using that money to live the heart of Christ. These are the people who are buying BMWs and Mercedes, rather than providing for the hungry and homeless. These are people who love earthly things, rather than God. Who make mammon their idol, rather than worshipping God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, you cannot serve both mammon and God, you cannot serve two Masters. You will either love one and hate the other.
So I say again, are our prayers out of wanting to see God’s will done, to see Him glorified and honoured, or out of selfish ambition, for wanting our will, not God’s? Let us always examine ourselves, making sure our motives are pure and earnest. That we are desiring things that will be pleasing to God, rather than pleasing to ourselves. Prayer that is humble, rather than selfish and prideful. God’s will be done, not ours. To God be the glory forever, Amen.
2 Chronicles 1:10-12
10 Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”
11 Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”