I imagine that many of us want to be more “wise” and to have more “understanding.” But the question is, what do we actually desire? For general knowledge to assist us in getting through the issues of our day to day life? To just be more clever for its own sake? To be more clever than the next guy (or gal)? To be more like Jesus Christ (at least who we think Jesus is)? I think one of the fundamental tenets of prayer is that we must know what we are asking for and why we are asking for it. Before I get into the wisdom prayer I think its helpful to discuss what a prayer of wisdom is (should be) asking for.
Wisdom is a gift from God. All good gifts are from the Heavenly Father and there is no sorrow in them (Proverbs 10:22). What does this mean in regards to wisdom? It means that any gift of wisdom from the Lord is not intended to bring evil into our lives. We will not be given knowledge or understanding that we are not emotionally, mentally and spiritually ready to handle, nor should it make us feel superior to others nor give us an ungodly thirst for even greater knowledge for its own sake. Knowledge or wisdom that brings with it covetousness or pride is not godly and is not true wisdom. This is also a useful test for any desire for acquisition of knowledge or wisdom. Do you want to know something for the purpose of cocktail parties or to get one up on someone else? It is not inherently wrong to want to know something for its social utility or to build our own base of knowledge but try and project this desire out to its end, will this acquisition of knowledge only spur you to acquire it so that you can show up your neighbor or does it help build you and others up? This brings me to my next point.
We are stewards of wisdom. If we are wise then we will benefit (Proverbs 9:12). But what of others? We are to love our neighbors as ourselves and to build up our brothers. Are we planning to use this knowledge or wisdom that we seek to help others or just to further our own ends? If we are asking for wisdom or knowledge, have we already made good use of the wisdom and knowledge that we already have by sharing it with others? This is particularly important if we are in teaching positions or positions of authority. We must pass down the torch and not feel threatened by the thought that if we share what we know with others that they will usurp us. Knowledge is a gift from God and meant to be shared liberally, for “[t]he people curse him who holds back grain” (Proverbs 11:26 ESV). Bless and you will be blessed.
Ask of God what God can give to you. The wisdom of God is foolishness to men (1 Corinthians 1:25). God cannot give you what he does not have to give. He can only give you true wisdom, which is different than the wisdom of men and may appear foolish to them. It is wisdom to turn the other cheek when another man hits you but this would appear foolish to the unbeliever. It is wisdom to let ourselves suffer loss without complaint but this would appear foolish. But this is the wisdom of God! How many of us would ask for this? How many of us truly desire the wisdom to be able to suffer loss on faith that we have not really lost anything of importance? But this is true wisdom. With that I move on to the prayer I have written for wisdom.
Prayer for Wisdom
Lord Jesus Christ, you who are wiser than King Solomon and in whom is all truth and wisdom, I pray that you first prepare my heart and my mind to receive your wisdom by purifying them of all that is not of you, of all double-mindedness and disbelief, that I may receive the good gifts that you desire to give me. I desire that godly wisdom that may be foolishness in the eyes of men. I desire the wisdom of God, for your ways are higher than our ways and your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. May my heart and mind be joined to ever seek out your ways and to tread on your paths. May I be well acquainted with those highways of knowledge, those peaks of wisdom and those depths of understanding. Yes Lord, I desire knowledge in the secret heart. My heart has been darkened with foolishness and unbelief, please purge it of all dross, that this vessel may be filled with your truth and your wisdom. May I never be wise in my own eyes; may all my ungodly thoughts be brought down from their high places and brought captive by your spirit of freedom, that my soul may be as unleavened bread, ready to receive all the good gifts that you have laid up for me in the heavenly places. Amen.
References: James 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:25, Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 51, Romans 12:16
*ESV=English Standard Version