"Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God..."
We all know this verse from Philippians. James says, "You have not because you ask not."
The question becomes: Are you looking at God as a bubble gum machine? Insert one prayer and get what you want.
Lord, I want a new ________________ (fill in the blank; job, car, boyfriend, good grade on a test, 60" TV). I've put in my time so give me what I want.
What does God think is important? He tells us not to worry, that he supplies the all our needs. Jesus told of the parable of the man who built enough barns to hold all his crop. When the man was satisfied that he had enough he was told he would die that night. So much for all he had accumulated.
We are to seek first the Kingdom of God. His kingdom is here now. We are to store up things for when we get to heaven. Those are things which won't be destroyed when they go through the refining fire. We are to ask for the desires of our hearts. (Remember, at the time of Jesus the heart was thought to be the mind not the emotions)
So what are the desires of our hearts. What will come through the refining fire and be brighter and more glorious? For me that's an easy question. First, and most importantly, is the salvation of my husband and younger son. Nothing else in the world is more lasting than this. Next is that I obey God. I fail at that pretty miserably at times. Then it's that I complete the works he has prepared for me to do.
Sound familiar? They are all based on Scripture. All will go through that fire and not be burned up as if they are chaff. Now don't think I'm saying I've got this all down pat. Sure there are material things I'd like. I have stuff just like everyone else. I love traveling and reading. We are fortunate in that we have plenty. But the desires of my heart need to be aligned with God's desires. That none should perish, that there is justice and mercy, that the needs of others be met, that I serve where I can.