10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”
Solomon was blessed with much more than the wisdom he asked God for. His fame as a wise man spread far and wide, and even the Egyptian empire sent envoys to seek out his sagacity. When the Bible talks about all of his wives and concubines, the number is figurative, representing all of the countries in which he had influence or trading agreements.
But all of this started because when God asked Solomon what he wanted from Him, Solomon asked for wisdom. He probably would have liked the riches or for power over his enemies, but he was smart enough to know what he needed, as opposed to what he wanted.
We should learn to pray this way, as well: to ask God for the things we need to complete our vocation for him. For the qualities we should possess to live good, Christian lives. When we pray, we should be asking for God’s will. I know that when I pray, I often sound like I’m talking to a magic genie. “God, please help me with A, B, and C. Please help people X, Y, and Z. Please provide us with 1, 2, 3.”
God isn’t a vending machine, and though He loves to pour out gifts on His beloved children, we (as his beloved children) should remember that the purpose of our prayers is to help us conform our lives to God’s will, not to acquire stuff from God. Jesus promised that our needs would be taken care of – God loves us more than the birds and flowers, and He provides for them! Our prayers should be slowly changing us.
As Shepherd Book said on Firefly, “You don’t fix faith, River. Faith fixes you.”