GOD ISN’T A CELESTIAL GENIE
Unlike the immensely humongous and tempestuous Genie in the movie, “The Thief of Bagdad,” who was tricked by Abu, the shrewd thief, into granting him three wishes in order to be released from his imprisonment inside a bottle, God is not a celestial Genie imprisoned in a bottle to be compelled to grant our wishes in exchange for His release from His prison.
True prayer is not a set of mantras or incantations employed to elicit a particular response from God. Chanting gibberish over and over or babbling out a bunch of mumbo-jumbos in a never-ending vain repetition is not praying to God; it is what the heathens do. Invoking worthless phrases will not get you to be heard by God; it is the practice of the pagans.
First and foremost, prayer is worship. When we pray, we acknowledge the fatherhood of God and our sonship to Him. In prayers, we hallow His Name because it is a priority for us. Prayers bring us to a place where we get with the program of God by asking for the establishment of His kingdom.
Prayer is not about forcing God to do our will or bending God to fulfill our wishes. Rather, in prayer, we are to bend our will into conformity with God’s will and to surrender ourselves to His divine purpose. When we pray, we are to ask God to have His way and do whatever He pleases, and that He will grant us the heart of obedience to accept it and the grace to enjoy it.
The Omniscient God knows all things. So, prayer is not about informing Him about what He doesn’t already know. Prayer brings us into submission to the sovereignty of the Omnipotent and benevolent God who provides everything we need. In prayer we align our mind and heart with His sovereign purposes.
Being the recalcitrant and wayward children that we are, when we pray, we throw ourselves at the mercy of God asking for the forgiveness of all our iniquities. In praying, we bring ourselves back into the dwelling place of the eternal God and we are returned into the safety and protection of His everlasting arms.
In our prayers, we acknowledge His eternal preeminence and everlasting dominion. Because our God is high and lifted up, prayer puts Him in His infinite majestic place.
Lastly, prayer is thanksgiving. All prayers will someday be discontinued, except the prayers of thanksgiving. When the day comes that we have no more to ask for, we will have everything to be thankful for.
Those who see themselves as so heavily anointed as to be able to move the hand of God are delusional. It is hubris to believe that God is subject to the whims and caprices of human desires. Anyone who gives you a 1001 formula on how to get God to answer your prayers is only taking you for a ride to get you to empty your bank account.
Any prayer, no matter how pious, that makes God looks as though He is beholden to man’s wishes is a prayer that dishonors God. It is a rather impious thing for any man to think himself as powerful enough to coax out a celestial Genie into granting him his wishes.