Every month, some one in our family selects a chapter in the Bible for us to read together. We read the same chapter all together – verse by verse – to glean its encouragement and wisdom. We do this in order to apply the truths from that chapter to our lives for the month.
I don’t remember when our family started doing this simple, devotional practice. I do know we’ve been reading a chapter together for at least ten years. We started when all three boys had become capable, confident readers. Not that we were able to read or pronounce every name or word ten years ago (or even now), but all three boys gave the Bible text a good try – what good readers do, right? 😊
This month, Caleb selected 2 Chronicles 1.
In this chapter, we learn that King Solomon gathered his followers together to make burnt offerings to the LORD. Together with his commanders, leaders, and judges that Solomon had summoned from every region of Israel, one thousand burnt offerings were dedicated to the LORD. Solomon then humbled himself before God and waited for his God to make His presence known.
And God did!
The Lord appeared before the king. And He made a profound offering of His own.
That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
New International Version, 2 Chronicles 1: 7
How did Solomon reply?
How would we answer the God of Wonders, if given this opportunity as well?
For Solomon, his answer was just as profound…
Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
New International Version, 2 Chronicles 1: 8 – 10
The LORD was pleased with Solomon’s request. And because Solomon did not ask for wealth, treasures, or the ability to demolish or annihilate his enemies, God awarded Solomon with the wisdom and knowledge he desired.
I’m humbled by Solomon’s request.
Well, recently, I had a request of my own.
Wisdom wasn’t mentioned in any part of my prayer and appeal.
What was I asking for?
Seats on an airplane
That was my request.
That was my need.
That’s what I was asking for.
Recently, John and I determined that we needed ten more days in Oregon in order to complete some necessary tasks before returning to South Africa. Staying ten more days meant we would need to change our airline tickets. Gratefully, we were able to make that change and at a cost we felt was affordable. The only thing we didn’t like about changing our tickets were the four seats we were assigned on the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg.
We were given two middle seats and two window seats. Usually, we request at least two aisle seats for the long-legged travelers in our family.
We tried to request a change.
We made appeal after appeal.
There were no open, aisle seats on this flight – at least not at the time of our booking.
Could I ask the LORD for two aisle seats?
I didn’t want to take an aisle seat away from another fellow traveler. I know how LONG and TIRING that 17+ hour flight is from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I know how attractive and desirable the aisle seats are for this intercontinental flight.
Yet, I also know that Jesus invites me to ask Him for his help and care.
Through Jesus, I heard him ask me
“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41)
So, I did.
“Lord,” I appealed, “If it is your will and your way, and no one is displaced from their seat, we could really use your help in securing two aisle seats for our family.”
Granted, this wasn’t a prayer for wisdom.
I wasn’t asking for strength or power or peace.
I was asking my God to meet us at our specific point of need.
I continued to pray about it.
One week passed.
Another week vanished into the echoes of time.
A third week went by, too.
Then, after four weeks of seeking my God for plane seats, we received an email from our travel agent. A significant lot of seats had just opened up on the flight! What’s more – not only were aisle seats available, but we could secure seats in a row so that our family could be seated all together!
John and Caleb could have aisle seats.
Jake could sit by the window – his preference.
I could sit between Jake and Caleb and provide the calming and secure presence our autistic sons needed for the long flight.
The Lord gave us new seats!
He answered every teeny, tiny, but, considerable and massive, physical and emotional need we had for our family’s travel back to South Africa when he replied to my “What do you want me to do for you?” prayer.
The Lord had reserved our seats.
I just hadn’t known that yet.
Friends, sometimes we may feel like our prayers don’t amount to much. Like, we shouldn’t pray for this-that-or-any-other-thing because this-or-that-kind-of-prayer seems so insignificant in the grand purposes of Kingdom values and pursuits. Or we may believe others have so much more need than we do. Or we may feel like our prayer doesn’t cut it on the worthy-prayer scale. Or we may not even feel deserving of God’s attention and consideration in answering us in the first place.
Yet, Solomon shows us that we can pray according to our need. He was given the monumental task of leading a nation. He needed far more wisdom and discernment than he had to fulfill this king-size role. He needed his God to come near and assist him – Big-Time!
Centuries later, when Jesus walked towards Jericho, a blind beggar called out for mercy, too. This man of need certainly didn’t have any kingdom purposes in mind with his call for physical healing and sight.
Yet Jesus answered him, nonetheless,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
The beggar replied, “I want to see.”
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
New International Version, Luke 18: 40-42
And I think this is the point.
The faith and trust Solomon had in his LORD guided Solomon’s prayer.
The faith and trust the blind beggar had in Jesus guided the man’s prayers, too.
And the faith and trust I had in my God for seats on an airplane guided me to keep seeking my God for His care and provision as well.
God knows that we need Him.
He asks us to seek Him and ask for His help.
He wants us to reply to His prompt:
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Because, truth be told, we have no idea how the people, places and things we pray for – big or small, monumental or teeny-tiny – play a role in the Kingdom purpose of our God.
My request was for seats on an airplane. It may not seem like much to others, but for our family with two special needs children on very long flights back to Africa, it is a big deal. I prayed in faith, week after week, for my God to answer.
He reserved four seats on plane.
That’s what He did for our family.
What do you need our Lord to do for you?