Dana Ewell had everything. He had a Mercedes and received an $800-a-month allowance when he was still at high school. Dana’s goal was to be a multi-millionaire by the age of 25, but at 21 he was still being supported by his parents. Then Dana promised his roommate a part of the family fortune in return for executing Dana’s family. Dana’s father, a multi-millionaire, his mother, and his older sister were murdered as they returned from a long weekend. The will of Dana’s father instructed that the family fortune be given to Dana, but in instalments. Dana’s furious reaction to not gaining his full inheritance immediately and his lack of grief over his family’s deaths led the investigators to the possibility that Dana was behind the murders. He was ultimately sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole for plotting and ordering the killing of his mother, father, and sister in 1992. (From Wikipedia).
To want to get everything that we desire may lead to our downfall. Today Dana Ewell can vouch for that. Paul warns us when he writes: For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows (1Tim. 6:10).
Believers may lay their desires before God in prayer. Jesus taught his disciples to pray: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt. 6:9 – 13). We never need to doubt that God hears our prayers. He is always busy helping us: The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him (2 Cron. 16:9). He often gives even before we ask: Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear (Is. 65:24). He gives us more than what we ask for: To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of (Eph. 3:20).
Just before Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray the Lord’s Prayer, He says: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, … for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:7 – 8). Here Jesus offers us a very important consolation: your Father knows what you need before you ask him. When we ask, we need not be afraid that we may have forgotten something. We need not tell God exactly what He has to do in case He forgets something. We are his children, He knows everything.
If God then knows what we need, is it still necessary to pray? The prayer of Jesus begins with: Our Father. On the cross Jesus paid for our sins to open up the way to our Father. He says that God is now our Father, and we his children. In any meaningful relationship there is conversation. The first sign of the disintegration of a relationship is the absence of conversation with one another. In a family we can support one another, listen to one another’s worries, sharing in one another’s joys and pain. Our relationship with our Father revolves precisely around that, namely exposing our hearts to Him, just to be with Him, to honour Him, to bring to Him all our needs and desires. If it seems as if God does not answer our prayers, it is because God knows best what we need, for our earthly lives and for eternity. Faith is to trust God. He knows what He is doing.
Through our conversation with our Father we are changed. My relationship with my Father deepens. The blessing in becoming one with the Father is much greater than just to receive what we ask for. We can then pray: Thy will be done. I can trust my Father. My Father knows, He knows what I need.
Our Father, thank you that You love us and want to give us only the best. You know what we need, even before we ask. Amen.