Ever wondered what you would ask for if God suddenly appeared and gave you three wishes? Sure you have. We have seen enough of movies, cartoons, drama serials and sitcoms that are based around the idea of wish-granting genies for us to seriously wonder what we would do if God actually granted us three wishes.

And you know what, beloved? Such thoughts do not belong in the realm of fantasy, it is actually a reality; because God has actually granted us wishes; and not just three. In fact, He has promised us a whole lifetime of answered prayers.

Yet, this really should not come as a surprise to us because we should be all too familiar with this promise that Jesus made.

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

Yes, beloved. You did not read it wrong. Jesus does say ‘whatever’. He did give us a blank check, both in quantity and quality of answered prayers. And Jesus makes a very convincing argument for why we can have faith that He will be good for His word too. He says,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

Sensible isn’t it? God our Father loves us so much that He would be willing to give up His Son, Jesus, for us so that by His shed blood, He gives us full and complete remission of sins; by His death, He breaks the bondage of sin in our lives, giving us the power to say ‘no’ to sin; and by His rising, we rise into a new life of righteousness and right standing with our Father in Jesus. So since God our Father was willing to make such a great sacrifice for us, that is why we can confidently echo what Paul said,

“He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

So our Father does grant wishes. Well, in His vocabulary, He answers prayers; and not just some prayers, but all prayers; as Paul says,

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

But what’s the catch? All genies have a catch. Even Aladdin’s genie bartered his wishes for his eventual freedom. So what is God’s catch? What conditions must be met in order for God to answer our prayers?

Well, beloved, there are two. Now, that came as a shock, didn’t it? You perhaps were thinking that God, because of His unconditional love for us would answer any and all prayers unconditionally? Well, beloved, doesn’t quite work that way. You see, apart from Jesus’ promise that He will do anything we ask in His name, He also made us one more promise.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

In order for your prayer to be answered, it must not rob you of anything, kill you or destroy you. If it will somehow harm you, then it will not come to you.

But not only that, our Father also made us a promise.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]
If what you are asking for will not prosper you in the long run, will harm you or will limit your future, then you are not going to get it. These are the two fail-safes that our Father has put in place to ensure that we only get the very best.

Now, you are probably thinking, how can that be? How can we possibly pray for things that will harm us in the long run? Well, beloved, if we are honest, our prayers can often be very short-sighted. They can even be contradictory. We ask for what is immediately ahead of us; we ask to be relieved of our clear and present problems. And though all that is good and right, they do not always meet our true desires. Let me give you an example.

A couple comes to our Father and asks for a change in lifestyle. What they really want is to move to another country and enjoy a slower pace of life. They also want to be financially independent, with a steady stream of passive income so that they can have the time to bring up their children in the best environment possible and lavish the best care that they can provide. Now, the husband is currently unemployed and looking for a job. He has made several applications to various companies and is praying that one of the applications will come through. Funds are running low so he will just about take anything. Question; does God give him the job? You do realize that getting the job will meet the family’s current needs but it will close the door on their eventual dream. So, what would Jesus do?

And many of our prayers are just like that, aren’t they? We settle for second best, because we think the best is beyond our reach. Well, beloved, the best most certainly is. But that doesn’t matter one bit because we are not the ones that are going to make the prayer happen. Our Father is. That is why the prayer was lifted up to Him. What we should be wondering is, is the best is beyond our Father’s reach? And we know the answer to that, don’t we?

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

Beloved, if you are staring reality in the face and it is telling you that there is no cat in hell’s chance you are going to get your inner most desires answered, remember, our Father

“is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

He is a God without limits for wasn’t He the one who,

“created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

So beloved, for us, it no longer is a question of ‘what if’ God answers prayers, but a firm and sure fact that our Father does indeed answer our prayers. For truly,

“…all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

And not only does He not demand anything back from us, He puts in place two fail-safes to ensure that we, despite our negligence, selfishness, shortsightedness and lack of perfect knowledge, do not pray non-beneficial blessings upon ourselves.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

Seek our Father and seek Jesus, and ask, ask, ask. There are not only three wishes on offer, but a lifetime of answered prayers. And if you don’t get what you are looking for, rejoice; for something even better is coming your way.

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