“Behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart…” 1 Kings 3:12
There’s never been a more challenging time to be a parent. Our kids face new obstacles and enticements every day. Preparing them to live godly lives in an ungodly culture requires prayer. You may already have an extensive prayer list for each child. However, wise parenting begins with one prayer for ourselves – “a wise and discerning heart.”
In 1 Kings 3, Solomon was given the opportunity to ask God for anything he wanted. He could have asked for a long, healthy life or financial security but instead, he requested discernment and understanding. His prayer reveals a certain self-awareness. This young, inexperienced ruler recognized his desperate need for wisdom to lead God’s people and to discern good from evil. God rewarded Solomon’s unselfish request by giving him unparalleled wisdom. And as we’ll see next time, this one prayer was the foundation of how he raised and taught his children.
The Lord still answers this prayer with a resounding, “Yes!” because it’s based on what He already desires to do. James 1:5 tells us, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously.” The genuine prayer for wisdom is a yearning to understand God’s purpose and God’s path. It’s a longing to know His will and His way.
We need to be careful, though, not to treat this promise like a wish from a magic lamp. James goes on to warn us that asking for wisdom is a matter of faith (1:6). Doubting God’s ability or willingness to grant our request makes us double-minded. As a result, we’ll default to the flesh, not to the Spirit.
Do you desire to see your children and their circumstances as God sees them? Then take a minute to examine where personal wisdom ranks on your prayer list. Stop and ask the Lord for greater understanding of the challenges your child faces each day. As Christian parents, we desperately need to help our kids discern good from evil. So remember, wise parenting begins with one prayer for yourself, “Lord, give me a wise and discerning heart!”