Sometimes when I don’t know what to pray for, I take the advice of Jesus’ brother James: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
I know I’m not completely wise, and if God said he’d give it to me, I might as well pray for it. After all, doesn’t wisdom equal smart and knowledgeable? Who doesn’t want that? Then I read Solomon’s view of wisdom.
One night, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon didn’t ask for riches or honor, but instead said, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:5,9).
In Greek, “a discerning heart” means Solomon asked for “a heart to hear.” Solomon’s view of wisdom leaves less opportunity to display my knowledge and more opportunities to display my love. A heart to hear means that in all my interactions with people, I’m asking for more patience, more awareness of their needs. It means I take the time to listen, which leaves less time to talk and display my wisdom. It means I have compassion to see where other people are hurting and find ways to serve them. A heart to hear requires more of me, because it’s not about me.
Ask for a heart to hear, and it will be given to you.