I was listening to a Christian radio station the other day and I heard a commercial for a local car dealership that was touting its adherence to the virtues of Christianity — integrity, honesty, etc. I certainly would like to deal with any retailer who will treat me with respect, but that is not what grabbed my attention. A satisfied customer was giving a testimonial during the 60 second spot. She talked about how pleased she was with the dealership and the vehicle she purchased, and then she said, “I just love the car; it has everything I had been praying for – a sunroof, heated leather seats…”. The woman went on to name a few other amenities, but my mind was still trying to process what I just heard.
Am I missing something? Am I not bold enough in my prayers? Do I not understand my heavenly Father in heaven?
I must confess that shortly before my 16th birthday I offered up a prayer to my God asking Him to not allow Jesus to return to earth until I got my driver’s license. I was so excited about driving a car I couldn’t see how foolish that prayer was. I was literally telling God that I would rather drive a car on earth than walk the streets of gold or sing with the angels in heaven – or see my Jesus face to face! (The irony of it all is that I wrecked my parents’ car one month after getting my license. – Do you want to guess what my prayer was then? J)
I have grown in my relationship with my God since those teenage days and I understand my God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). I also know that He wants to give His children good things when they ask (Lk. 11:13), but like my teenage prayer, this woman’s prayer seems to miss the greater joy. Am I wrong? Perhaps I should begin praying to God for the better things in this life. Perhaps I should quit praying for more wisdom, deeper faith, or a greater love for Him, and begin praying for the temporary instead of the eternal.
But alas, I have committed to lean on the promises of God. And, as far as I know, God has promised us all things eternal, He has never promised us the comforts and luxuries of this world, and has even warned against them. Luke brings me back to God’s purpose for us when he says, “If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
It seems to me that God is far more interested in our spiritual well-being than our earthly standard of living. There is nothing wrong with having a sunroof and heated leather seats, but if we are praying for those kinds of things, maybe we are missing God’s true desire for us.