A cute story
I heard a cute story about a lady who bought a singing parrot at a pet store. However, she returned it the next day, explaining that the parrot didn’t sing. The pet store owner asked if the parrot had a mirror, since parrots like to look at themselves. So she bought a mirror and took the parrot back home. The next morning she was back again. The mirror hadn’t helped; the parrot still hadn’t sung or spoken a word.
The store owner then asked if she had a ladder, since parrots like to climb up and down. So she bought the parrot a ladder. The next day she brought him back again and told the owner he still wouldn’t sing.
He asked, “Well, do you have a swing in the cage? Parrots love to swing; it makes them happy. He’ll certainly start singing and speaking then.”
However, the next day the woman was back! The store owner asked, “Did the parrot sing or speak yet?” “No,” she replied. “He died last night!”
The owner said, “I’m so sorry to hear that. Did he say anything before he died?” “Yes,” the woman replied. “He said, ‘Don’t they sell any food down there at the pet store?’”
Like this parrot owner, we often ask God for things that we want, rather than what we need. Instead, most of our requests are to fulfill our fleshly desires.
Business before pleasure
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus promises that if we take care of His business here on earth, He will take care of our wants. In verse 33 He says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God will supply anything necessary to fulfill His mandate in our life.
In Luke 11:1-3, Jesus gives us the prototype for prayer. Yes, God does care about our wants. Yes, He encourages us to pray, but we should do so with His heart in mind. In His model prayer, Jesus states that we can ask Him for our daily needs (bread) and He will meet those needs.
Our purpose in praying is to release His will, desire and kingdom authority here on earth and in our sphere of influence. That means we are to omit any requests that just fulfill our own wants.
Answered prayer rocks!
Whenever our prayers align with God’s heart, they are answered, and answered prayer is exciting! It releases a desire to pray more. But prayer without results is boring. James 4:3 says: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Let’s stop being selfish in prayer. Look around and see how to advance the cause of Jesus Christ in our families, workplaces, relationships and, yes, our churches!
Let’s ask for whatever it takes to see His will “on earth as it is in heaven”. He will surely supply everything we need—money, health, wisdom, joy, jobs, places to live…—when that’s our goal. Ask for what you need to fulfill God’s plan in and through your life. Then watch heaven open and release the answers to your prayers. Prayer can once again be very exciting if we ask for what we need and not what we want!