In I Kings 3:9, David’s son Solomon, told by the Lord to ask whatever he wished God to give him, prayed his famous prayer asking God to give him an understanding heart to judge His people. In :11, God commended Solomon’s selfless, kingdom-centered prayer: “Because you have asked THIS thing and have not asked for YOURSELF …”.
Solomon’s words, as well as the Lord’s response, should be a challenge and a guide to the way that WE pray too. We ought not to be always asking for what will lead to our own personal blessing and benefit, but we should consider how everything affects the Kingdom of God. We should pray about what is best for HIS KINGDOM, not just for our own comfort. It is possible that our suffering, our loss, or our denial might lead to the advance of God’s kingdom in some way. If so, are we willing to put His kingdom first in our praying?
If we aspire to serve as pastor or minister at a particular church, are we willing to ask that if God’s kingdom would be better served with another pastor or minister than ourselves, that His will be done? If we hope to have a certain man or woman as our marriage partner, but God’s kingdom would be best advanced if things worked out in another direction, are we willing to make that our request? If we hope to be healed of an illness, but God would be better glorified by the way that we endure suffering as a witness to many, are we willing to ask that?
If we really learn to pray in the unselfish way that Solomon did, to “seek first His kingdom” (Matthew 6:33) in all that we request, perhaps God will see fit to respond to us the way He did to Solomon: “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself … I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor …”.