Bible Study Blog

Be Careful What You Pray For?

by Lenny Cacchio

“Be careful what you pray for because you might just get it.”  I have heard that assertion and it puzzles me.  It’s akin to prayers answered for Uncle Harry’s cancer, only to see the man die in a car wreck two weeks later.  Did God answer our prayer to heal him, and then pull a double cross because we didn’t ask God to protect him too?  

Be careful what you pray for because you might just get it?  That doesn’t seem like the God that Jesus described:  “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV)  His point, of course, is that “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Verse 12 NKJV)  He won’t give us a scorpion if we ask him for an egg.

Indeed, God often gives us more than what we pray for because “the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 NKJV)

And then there is Matthew 6:32 and thereabouts.  "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

Solomon’s encounter with God is a great example of how it all works.  God asked Solomon what he wanted, and instead of riches and power and honor, Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could properly lead his nation.  God was so pleased with the response that he not only gave Solomon the wisdom he asked for, he gave him the riches, power, and honor that he did not ask for.

Now that I think about it, maybe it does make a difference what we pray for.  Pray for things that benefit others and God will shower his blessings on all of us.