Wisdom Means Praying God’s Promises
Have you ever noticed how some people say, “God” a lot when they pray? It goes something like this—“God, I just want to thank you, God, for being here today, and I pray, God, that you would just help us, God, to do this. God, I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen”—and it might drive you crazy. (You aren’t alone.)
But this is what King Solomon did with the promises of God. He first utters a phrase in 1 Kings 8:15 that he is going to repeat over and over throughout his prayer during the dedication of the temple: “[God] has fulfilled the promise by his power” (CSB). He says it again in verses 20, 24, 25, and 26 and then ends his prayer by saying, “Blessed be the Lord! He has given rest to his people Israel according to all he has said. Not one of all the good promises he made through his servant Moses has failed” (1 Kings 8:56).
Solomon ordered his life around the assumption that the promises of God were true. He knew that true wisdom was not accruing more information or even becoming a nicer person, but living in a way that if the promises of God aren’t true, you are a fool.
There are a number of promises from the Bible that have shaped my life, like Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” How can that promise not shape my giving and how generous I am?
Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment.” I don’t do everything right in the Christian life, but I can tell you that almost every day I think about the fact that I am going to have to stand before God and give an account, and it has changed the way I look at every area of my life.
Matthew 24:14 says, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” I have prioritized my life and the mission of our church around that promise. We don’t do world missions because we like to travel but because of what God has promised us he will do.
Then there’s Psalm 84:11: “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (ESV). What would your life look like if you believed that? Wouldn’t that lead you to incredible boldness in prayer? It does me, because as I believe that verse, when something happens in my life that is different from what I thought should happen, then I know it’s because what God had for me was better than what I thought I needed. There is a lot of freedom in knowing God has my best interest in mind when he answers (or doesn’t answer) my prayers.
George Mueller is a great example of both sides of this: His belief in God’s goodness led him to bold requests in prayer. It also led him to patiently trust in God when he didn’t receive them in the manner he thought he would.
Mueller ran an orphanage. More than once, when he sat the kids down at dinner time with nothing to eat, he would pray, thanking God for his provision. Then someone, unknown to him, would show up at the door while he was praying with bread or milk. Mueller walked with God and believed in God’s goodness.
And yet, when his wife later contracted rheumatic fever and died, it seemed that his earnest prayers for her healing weren’t heard. Still, the last verse Mueller read to her was Psalm 84:11: “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Mueller knew that God’s apparent silence didn’t negate his goodness.
George Mueller ordered his life around the promise of Psalm 84:11, and it transformed the way he responded to God—in blessing and in tragedy.
When you center your life around God’s promises, it makes you wise. If you don’t, you’re a fool. Have you ordered your life in a way that assumes God’s promises are true?