God showed me something else about Himself recently through Mr. C’s wish list. All this time, Mr. C has never really asked for much or had any kind of wish list. When it was time to buy him a present for Christmas or his birthday, we would just need to find something we thought he’d like. It wasn’t too hard to do that, as we know our son pretty well, but now he actually has a few things that he wants that we’ve put on an Amazon wish list for him. Of course, I don’t want this to lead to greediness, and I’ve had to talk to him about how he doesn’t instantly get whatever is on his wish list–he thought it would get sent to him right away. However, as his parent, I think it’s a lot of fun to be able to eventually give him some of what he actually wants when his birthday comes around, toys for which he asked, about which he’ll be excited.
As soon as I felt that, I realized that it’s the same way with our prayers to our heavenly Father. He doesn’t want us to be greedy, either, and He won’t grant us everything we ask for–things that aren’t in line with His will (James 4:3 shows that one reason He says no is because of our wrong motives in asking), but I can see how it would give Him joy to be able to say yes to us when we’ve actually asked Him for something specific (I know from experience that this even applies at times to things that aren’t needs). John 16:24 seems to show that part of the reason He gives is so that our “joy may be made full”–a reason I want to give to my son.
I can’t resist quoting Matthew 7:7-11 since it is so closely related to this. Jesus is speaking here in the Sermon on the Mount: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Luke sheds more light on this by identifying the Holy Spirit as the good that our Father will give (Luke 11:13). However, this example seems like it would apply to even small things for which we ask, for whatever a good father would do, our heavenly Father would do and better.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).