When you have small children around, you have to baby-proof your home. The reason children are a danger to themselves is because they think they know what they are doing, even when they do not. Children often ask for things they think will be great, even though they will be harmful to them.
Imagine what might happen if you gave Aladdin’s lamp to a toddler or a young child. They would likely make requests, which were not the result of long-term thinking, sage wisdom, or perspective. Their requests might be too shallow or simple, on the one hand – or even dangerous, petty or spiteful on the other, depending on their mood.
Prayer without a safety catch is like giving Aladdin’s lamp to a child.
We pray to “Our Father” not to “the Genie of the bottle”. The genie of the bottle gives you whatever you wish, even if what you wish for is not ultimately good for you. A father, on the other hand, gives you what is best for you; because He loves you, He gives you exactly what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows.
Many of us assume that we know what we need, or what would be best for us, but the truth is that we do not have the wisdom or the full scope of knowledge necessary to make those determinations. The good news is that we have an all-knowing (omniscient), and loving God, who relates to us as a Father, not a genie.
“In my name” means “according to my will”. If I asked you to go to the pharmacy or the post office “in my name”, it would mean that you were acting on my behalf, according to my will and desires. To pray in Jesus’ name, and to say “Amen” are not the Christian versions of “Abracadabra” or other magic words; they are to submit your requests to God’s will, wisdom, and plans.
There have been times in my life when I have prayed for things which I now thank God He did not give me. I am thankful that I have a Father, not a genie.
Psalm 84:11 says: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Knowing that you have a father, not a genie, helps you to understand that when God does not grant a request, it may be because either that thing is not good for you, perhaps not right now, or that He has something else good, perhaps even better than what you asked for.
Come to Him as a good Father, and trust Him with your needs and requests!
In Christ’s Love,