Friday, May 18

Selfish prayers

Scripture: 1 Kings 3, 2 Chronicles 1, Psalm 78, 2 Thessalonians 2

1 Kings 3:9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”


God invites Solomon to ask: “What should I give you?”

Solomon could have asked for anything, but he chooses to ask for wisdom and knowledge so that he can lead God’s people well.  In other words, his request wasn’t selfish; it was about the well-being of others.  This pleased God, who not only granted his request, but promised him many other good things that he didn’t ask for!


James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” 

It’s so easy for my prayers to become selfish.  When Solomon prayed for something that would bless others, God blessed him as well.  I think God loves to hear us pray unselfish prayers! 

For example, I used to pray that our church would grow.  A growing church makes me look good.  I justified the prayer by pointing out that a growing church meant people were coming to Christ.  But I changed that prayer a long time ago—I realized there was too much “me” in it.  I started praying that God would make us more effective at our mission of helping people find and follow Jesus.  I made it more about them, less about me.  It’s a prayer that I believe God loves to answer.  

This has become a healthy filter for my prayers.  I pray for what I want, and then evaluate how much is for me and how much is for others, and then re-pray it from a more others-centered focus.  I pray with more confidence and faith when I pray for others, and not just me.

And I believe God is pleased!

Prayer: Lord, You are so good to us, and bless us far beyond what we deserve!  Help me become less self-centered and more others-centered—for Your sake!