Solomon has always been an intriguing character for me, if for no other reason than his famous prayer that was so pleasing to God.
You know the story. Solomon goes to Gibeon to sacrifice to the Lord. There, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and says, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” I Kings 3:4-5. Solomon had just become king, and instead of asking for the things all men hope and pray for–long life, wealth, fame–Solomon asks for the one thing that will help him most in performing his job well: wisdom in ruling. I Kings 3:7-9.
The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s prayer for wisdom at work, He immediately answered it, and then he threw in riches and fame to go along with it. I KIngs 3:10-13. God was pleased because Solomon asked for that which was most important to being successful at his job. The Lord’s response highlights both the importance of our work and His willingness to help in completing it.
But it wasn’t just that Solomon asked for wisdom to do his job; It was pleasing to God that Solomon did not ask for a long life, riches, and fame. These are things everyone wants, but our want for them often interferes with what the Lord wants for us.
Those who overcome for the Kingdom do so in part because they do not love their own lives, even unto death. Rev. 12:11. A long life is not always what is best for the kingdom in a fallen world. Similarly, those who seek after wealth, fall into a trap and that can end in destruction. Timothy 6:9. And those who seek fame will often find themselves at cross-purposes with God.
In short, Solomon asked for none of the three things that keep so many from fulfilling God’s will for their lives. This made Solomon very useful to God in his work, and showed God it was safe to give those things to Solomon. If Solomon’s desire for these three things was not strong enough to prompt a prayer, neither were they tempting enough to poisonous his purpose.
So, bottom line: if you want to please God: pray for the thing that is most necessary to help you perform your job well because the thing that is most necessary to make you good at your job is likely the thing that makes you most useful to the Lord. GS