Growing In Faith
Genies are magical beings from folklore who grant wishes if their lamp is rubbed the right way.
We often get into the bad habit of thinking God is like a genie - rub Him the right way and He will grant our every wish. We feel that if we give Him our "wish list" He'll provide everything on it, right? We have to understand that God doesn't work that way and understand that God does not bless us on the basis of who we are or what we do, He blesses us solely on the basis of who He is. We can do nothing to earn God’s blessings – we only receive through His grace. Grace is defined as an unmerited favor...it is something we don't deserve, but are given anyway. God grants His grace to us because He is a good, good God! God cannot be bribed, bullied, blackmailed or ‘suckered’. God has many reasons why He blesses some and withholds blessings from others. These reasons are always in accordance with His eternal plan. He doesn't always give us what we want because He knows He has something better or that thing we desire is not going to be good for us. He sees the big picture!
If ever we feel that God isn’t giving us what we deserve, we should stop and consider that due to our transgressions what we truly deserve is Divine judgement. What we truly deserve is punishment for sins. The only reason we receive blessings instead of condemnation is because Jesus Christ went to the cross on our behalf. Eternal salvation is a free gift that can neither be earned nor deserved or obtained by rubbing a "genie". If we believe in Christ we will be eternally blessed and thankfully never get what we truly deserve – judgement in time and eternity. Ephesians 2: 4-5 (NIV) says, "Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved."
We speak to God about our wants, needs and desires through our prayers. Prayer is a conversation with God in which we can share our deepest thoughts with the Creator of the Universe. God knows our true thoughts, needs and desires - and as we pray, we are participating in a relationship with Him. Christians pray about a number of things, including praising God for who He is and what He's done for us, thanking Him, confessing and repenting, asking things for other people, and even asking things for ourselves. We can ask God things for ourselves. God actually invites us to ask Him for things - but we do it as part of a relationship! Not using Him as our personal genie.
When we ask God for things, we’re expressing our dependence on Him, acknowledging that He is in control of all of the details of our lives and we need His involvement - all true prayer is faith in action and we are acknowledging that He will ultimately give us what we need, not simply what we want.
This is less asking for ‘wishes’ and more asking for God’s will to be done, such as growing in faith and godliness, persevering in adversity, relief from suffering or the spread of the gospel.
God is not our own personal genie but does want to bless us, so enjoy your freedom to ask God for things, trusting and thanking Him as the good God he is! Remember, prayer is about a relationship, not making your dreams come true.