This is a lesson on prayer. Watch the video or scroll down to read the text version.
I’ve often pondered prayer. Specifically, I’ve pondered what it’s okay to pray for. For example, is it okay to pray for wealth? Is it okay to ask God to give us more money, a better income, or to make us wealthy? Is it okay to ask God to give us success? Is it okay to for an athlete to ask God to give him victory? Is it okay to ask God to give us a promotion or a better job?
There are many verses in the Bible that talk about prayer. In this lesson I’m going to focus on just one verse that gives us at least a partial answer to this question regarding what it’s okay to pray for. This verse is in 3 John, and it is 3 John 2.
The context of this verse is that 3 John is a letter written by the elder to Gaius. Before the elder got to the main message of his letter, he said the following to Gaius.
3 John 2 Beloved, concerning everything, I pray for you to prosper and be healthy, just as your soul prospers.
We see the word pray. The elder was praying for Gaius. Specifically, he was praying that Gaius would prosper and be healthy. Notice also he said concerning everything. The word everything encompasses a lot of things. So we see that the prayer the elder was praying for Gaius was very broad. He said he was praying about everything, but more specifically he was praying that in everything Gaius would prosper and be healthy
The word prosper does not necessarily mean wealth, but it could mean wealth. When you include the word everything and understand that the elder was praying about everything, then that would include Gaius’ finances. If the elder was praying the Gaius would prosper in his finances, then the elder was, at least to some extent, praying that Gaius would do well financially.
The word everything encompassed a lot of things in Gaius’ life. This tells us the elder was praying that Gaius would prosper in anything and everything Gaius was involved in whether it was occupation, hobby, family, or ministry. Therefore, we can also conclude that the elder was praying that Gaius would receive things that would give him physical comfort. He was praying for things that would benefit Gaius. We also need to keep in mind that this was an author of scripture who was praying for these things.
When we look at this as an example of how to pray, it indicates to us that it’s okay for us to pray for things that would bring us physical comfort and things that would benefit us. This means it would be okay for us to pray for wealth.
Having said that, we need to keep in mind two things. First, the elder was praying for someone else, not necessarily himself. Second, we have to keep in mind there’s nothing in this verse indicating that Gaius actually received what the elder prayed for. There’s nothing telling us that Gaius did indeed prosper. There’s nothing telling us that he was indeed healthy. So as we think about prayer, yes we can look at this verse and see that it’s okay to pray for anything and everything, but at the same time we have to keep in mind there is no guarantee we’re going to receive what we pray for.
There are three things that might happen if we pray for anything and everything. One, we saw that the elder was praying for someone else. If we pray for other people and pray about everything they’re involved with, we might accomplish some very good things for them because prayer works. Two, if we pray and ask God for everything we truly want, it helps us to define, understand, and acknowledge what it is we truly want and what we truly desire. This might reveal to us our true priorities. Three, as we do that, we may come to realize that we have some desires or wants that are not healthy. Maybe we have desires that are simply bad. Praying for those things may actually be the vehicle that reveals that to us.
Let me close with a question for you to think about. What are some things you want that you have never prayed about? What are some things you truly want, but you’ve never asked God to provide them for you? Once you identify those things, then think about why you are not praying for those things.
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Scripture quotations taken from a translation by Bible Mountain.