“One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.”
Once, when I was growing up, I remember a Sunday school teacher asking us, “how do you know the God is real?” I distinctly remember one of my classmates responding, “I prayed that I would get a bike for Christmas, and I did.” Now, he was just a kid and he didn’t know any better. I believe that he prayed earnestly for that bike without a second thought about whether it was too trivial for God or too selfish of him. I think there’s power in a prayer like that. But as we get older, we start to know better that God isn’t there just to grant wishes. Certainly he wants us to pray and to ask him for what we need, but we know that God doesn’t exist to drop a check in our mailbox or miraculously get us a new cell phone. But often, we treat him as if he does.
Think about your prayers. What do you spend most time doing in your prayers? Is it praising God? Is it asking for forgiveness? Is it praying for friends and family? Or is it requesting things from God? If I am answering honestly, I spend most of my time praying for God to give me x, y, or z. I ask him to give me good health, to make me financially stable, to take care of my family, etc. None of these are wrong to ask for, but none of them are the most important thing to ask for either.
The psalmist of our verse today, presumably King David, knew what the most important thing was. He says that the only thing that he wants from God is to spend all the days of his life in the presence of God. When I read that, I realize just how trivial some of the things I ask for can be. The thing that we should desire most and the thing that, deep down, our soul desires most, is to spend every day forever in the presence of God.
When you spend time in prayer today, remember that request. It’s a request to be near to God, to have a relationship with him, and ultimately, to be forgiven and redeemed by him. I think we all could use that kind of prayer.
We thank you for scripture, that you have given us your inspired word to learn from and to guide our lives. God, we desire one thing above all, and that is to live with you eternally. Forgive us, redeem us, and come near to us as we come near to you, Father.
In Jesus’ Name,