God: MY Genie in MY Bottle
I remember watching Aladdin when I was a kid. I really enjoyed the movie because there was action, adventure and comedy. My favorite character was the Genie. He was funny and powerful enough to grant any wish with a few provisions:
#1 Can’t kill anyone, #2 Can’t make anyone fall in love and #3 Can’t bring people back from the dead.
I found one of those lamps once but Christina Aguilera popped out…how disappointing! Here is a clip from the movie:
There are a lot of Christians that seem to think that God is their genie in a bottle. I know I had this misconception. I thought that if I was sincere enough or had enough faith that what I asked for would be given to me. This spun me into a sea of doubt. What I was asking for never seemed to come about even if I believed it would come true.
The problem with the video and my former view of prayer was that I was the master. I was the one asking God to grant MY will. I wasn’t concerned about what God wanted for me but rather what I wanted myself. We, as believers in Christ, need to have a right understanding of prayer. 1 John 5 14-15 gives us that understanding:
“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.”
Notice the phrase that is in bold? That phrase is the first link in the chain that John puts together for us here. The first link in the chain is that we must ask “according to his will”. Prayer is not about getting what we want but asking for what God wants.
When the first link is established then the second link, “he hears us”, is applied. God hears the prayers of those that are doing so in accordance to his will.
Now some people will ask, “How could I possibly know God’s will?” The answer to that is found in the pages of Scripture. We, as humans, do not have access to God’s secret or decretive will so we need to model our lives based on what we read in the Bible (God’s prescriptive will).
When God hears our prayers we can have confidence that “we have the requests that we have asked of him”. There is confidence in prayers that are rooted in God’s will because John is clear that these prayers are always answered and granted to us.
So, how do you view God and prayer? Is God a genie bending to the will of a human master? Or, is the creature bending to the will of the Creator God?