Praying for the Right Thing

The interviewer asked his guest who was promoting his book on mindfulness what his teacher thought was the most important thing for people. “Discernment,” he answered.

Reading in Romans (chapter 12), Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Solomon prayed to God upon becoming King of Israel at a rather young age. God looked with favor on him and granted him one wish. “Wisdom,” said Solomon, “I wish for wisdom.” You have chosen well, said God, and so be it.

Solomon was reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived. Read Proverbs.

However, at the end of his life, Solomon looked back and said that everything was meaningless. Read the end of Ecclesiastes. I think perhaps Solomon regretted not having discernment. He may have been wise, and he talked often of bringing up young men. But his son destroyed the kingdom shortly after assuming power.

Discernment requires the renewing of our minds–constant learning. Being open to changing if we’re wrong. Rejecting old teaching when we learn something new from God.

It requires observing and listening and casting off our preconceived prejudices to allow room for God to speak into our openness. It requires a certain space–time and distance.

And sometimes I think that God does not give us the final answer immediately. Perhaps there are steps along the way where we experience one thing for a season of growth and then God tells us to move on to the next season of growth. We need to be open to discern what God is telling us.

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