A while back, I heard a father talk about how he prayed for his children to have wealth and financial security. This amazing father is setting up his children to be financially successful. My first thought was: Brilliant! What a great gift to his children! My second thought was: I wish my parents had prayed that for me.
As I sulked about it for a few days, I began making notes to pray for my own children’s financial future. I dreamed about all the things I could pray for my yet unborn children – financial security, health, godly mates, long life, and so forth. In the meantime, I was feeling resentful toward my parents for not praying for me to have financial stability and wealth. As it goes with most of these things, God soon opened my eyes to a greater concept and showed me the wisdom of my own parents.
Mom and Dad were always very intentional about teaching me – Scripture, leadership principles, stage presence, respect, thankfulness, concern for the under-dog, and even how to do things that seemed like too big for a little girl. They especially taught me about wisdom, reading Proverbs to me and teaching me about Solomon. I’m not sure how many times they talked to me about Solomon, or how old I was when I heard the story for the first time, but it is a story that has remained with me all my life.
As I considered the Solomon story, I remembered that God offered Solomon anything he wanted and Solomon asked for wisdom. I’ve always been struck by the fact that all this happened in a dream. If Solomon were awake and had friends around him to consult with when God made this offer to him, it might have taken him a while to decide what he wanted. He might have asked for more power, to be healthy in every way, to be the most influential man who ever lived, or to have his children be wealthy and secure. All of these are wonderful requests, but in his most vulnerable and open state, he asked for wisdom to rule the people well. God was so pleased with Solomon’s request he was also granted wealth, honor, and a long life (I Kings 3).
Mom and Dad taught me if I prayed for wisdom, God would be pleased with me too. Not only would He give me wisdom (which God promises in James 1:5), but all the other things I need in life would be given as well. Suddenly I understood why my parents hadn’t spent a lot of time praying for me to be financially secure or wealthy. They knew if we prayed for wisdom, those things would come as well. A wise person cannot help but have honor and be financially successful!
The one thing Dad did not share with me during those lessons is that wisdom isn’t free. Wisdom comes with experience, which is why we typically associate the elderly with wisdom. Our hair gets gray because the life experience we have sucks something out of us. Our fashion standards today tell us to hide our gray hair because it means we’re O-L-D, when in fact it represents life experience and wisdom. It’s embarrassing to be 33 years old and have half of the hair surrounding your face already gray – or is it?
I’ve discovered over the years, as I have prayed for wisdom nearly every day of my life and in many situations, it is a costly request. Wisdom comes with experience. We have a choice of how to handle each challenge that comes – will we learn from it or will we resent the hard things and waste our time asking God “why?”
The thing is, knowing the cost of wisdom, I’ve continued to pray for it. When I was in my early 20’s, I saw marriages all around me either ending in divorce or failing to thrive. I saw people hurting one another out of ignorance or fear and it made me so sad. I prayed that God would teach my future husband and me everything we needed to know to have a joyful marriage – before we married each other.
I thought that prayer meant I would learn a lot of things quickly. I had no idea that more than ten years later, I’d still be in the learning process. I spent several years regretting that prayer and repenting from it. But recently God spoke to me during a time of prayer and seeking. He told me to stop regretting that prayer because He had heard my heart. He understood what I meant: I wanted to enter a marriage relationship with tools in place to help me deal with the problems that inevitably come in any intimate relationship. He heard my heart’s cry and is honoring that request.
My parents did not pray specifically for me to be financially secure or even wealthy, but they did teach me to pray for wisdom, which encompasses all those things. They also taught me through their daily lives how to be a financially secure person. They taught me to tithe, to save, and to be frugal. I did not value those lessons at the time, but they gave me a firm foundation to fall back on when I finally came to my senses about financial matters. Sometimes I am a slow learner, but my goal is always to be learning and growing. I’m thankful for those gifts they gave me.
The father who prays for his children to have a secure financial future is a very wise man. He is doing well for his children. I’m thankful for parents who also prayed for me to have a secure future by teaching me the value of wisdom and praying for God to bless me with that wonderful gift.