God is not a genie
|"Way too many of us tend to treat God like a personal genie." Pastor Jarrid Wilson. Image credit|
We all know the drill. We rub the lamp and “Poof!” With a lot of smoke, out comes the giant genie. Then, in a deep voice like Morgan Freeman, he would bow down and say, “Your wish is my command!” Sadly, there are Christians who treat God like a genie. According to Pastor Jarrid Wilson, one of the “Stuff Christians Should Stop Doing” is “Praying for God’s provision when we have yet to use what he has already provided.” 
Way too many of us tend to treat God like a personal genie. Prayer was given to us as an open line of communication between us and God, but the harsh reality is that way too many of try to use it like a drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant. You don’t get to pick and choose the way God provides, but you do get the opportunity to trust his plan and have faith in his promises. I can’t begin to explain how many times I’ve ignored God’s provision because it wasn’t wrapped the way I intended it to be. Every time we purposely ignoring God’s provision, we are indirectly telling him, “I don’t trust your plan.” 
I remember when my mother told me she won’t buy me any “pasalubong” or gifts whenever she would go to the market. When I asked why, she said because I didn’t even appreciate what she gave me. For example, whenever she bought me clothes, I would just put it in my closet. I didn’t even put them on. Needless to say, since then, I have always put on what she bought for me immediately after she gave it to me. Is it possible that one of the reasons why there are times our prayers for provision went unanswered is because “we have yet to use what [God] has already provided”?
God provides. No question about it. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) But the Bible also teaches us to be thankful. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Emphasis added.) We are also told in Philippians 4:6, “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (NLT) We ask God for what we need and we thank Him for what He has done. According to Psalm 103:2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Emphasis added).
So when we fail to thank God, we have forgotten His benefits. One of the marks of the perilous last days is that people will be “ungrateful” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2). Not to be thankful is to be ungrateful. Is it possible that another reason why at times our prayers went unanswered is because we failed to thank God for what He has already provided?
According to Ephesians 3:20, God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”. We should leave it “entirely up to God to decide what the blessing would be and where, when, and how [we] would receive them.”  Wilson told us that we “don’t get to pick and choose the way God provides”. He also admitted that “many times [he] ignored God’s provision because it wasn’t wrapped the way [he] intended it to be.” God knows what’s best for us. He is not bound to answer the prayer the way we want it answered.
Sadly, because of that expectation, we might have missed out that God has already answered our prayer. Is it possible that God has already answered our prayers but we failed to use His provision and thank Him for it because we have wrong expectations on how He would answer it?
Instead of ignoring His provision, we should be grateful and we should be good stewards of what God has already given us.
“Making the Most” Step
Make a list of the blessings you already received from God. Be as specific as possible. Then, take time to thank Him again for all those blessings. Praise Him for being our Provider!
NOTE: This is Day One of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 7) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message on “Pass It On! (Part 2)” last April 12.
 Jarrid Wilson (2013, October 22), “Stuff Christians Should Stop Doing,” Jarrid Wilson, retrieved from http://jarridwilson.com/.
 Ibid. Emphasis added.
 Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez (OR: Multnomah, 2000), 24.