If You Could Pray for Only One Thing

If You Could Pray for Only One Thing - Grace Fox

“The rest of my prayer that morning became this: Simplify my heart, Lord, to have just one request: To know You and dwell with You intimately.”

The preschooler ripped the wrapping from her Christmas presents and squealed with delight at the contents. “Thank you, thank you, Mommy!” she cried. Then she looked at her mother with wide eyes. “Is there more?”

Many big girls ask the same question

Take Eve, for instance. God had already given Eve a long list of gifts: a perfect husband, a fail-proof marriage, the pleasure of living in a botanical garden, and everything physical needed to thrive. Best of all, He’d favored her with His presence. Yes, it seemed that creation’s First Lady had everything, but still she yearned for more.

We tsk-tsk Eve for her behavior, but we often play copycat. God has already given us so much and yet we yearn for more money, bigger homes, fewer pounds, nicer kids, better spouses, and greater success. Our prayers are riddled with requests.

Put away the shopping list of requests

In her book Women on the Edge, Cindi McMenamin says she recently took her “shopping list” to God in prayer. Reciting one need after another exhausted her. Later that morning, she read Psalm 27:4:

“One thing I ask of the LORD; this is what I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

“There were lots of things I was asking of God that morning. But the psalmist asked for only one thing: to dwell in God’s presence, seeking His face and glory,” writes McMenamin. “I realized that if seeking God had been my one request—my only request—I would not have needed anything else I’d been praying for.”

Focus on this one prayer request

McMenamin says,

“When God becomes my Sole Desire, I am able to face whatever comes my way. Jesus said, ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (Matthew 6:33).

“The rest of my prayer that morning became this: Simplify my heart, Lord, to have just one request: To know You and dwell with You intimately.

McMenamin’s honesty challenges me to examine my heart.

How about you?

If you were allowed only one request in your prayers, what would it be—“God, please give me more _______,” or “God, please grant my desire to know You more intimately”?

As we begin a new year, let’s learn from McMenamin’s testimony and the psalmist’s example. It’s true that God invites us to bring our requests before Him, but let’s ensure that our primary yearning is to know Him. When that’s our heart’s desire, everything else falls into place.

Know you are loved,


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One Comment

  1. One of those “dangerous” prayers. Getting to know God more intimately sometimes take great emotional pain to acheive that goal. I recall being in a church and someone asked me how they could pray for me. Without hesitation I said “that I would get closer to Jesus.” It never dawned on my to ask for that kind of prayer from people and honestly was a bit shocked I said it. My friend that was in the church told me that it was a “dangerous prayer request,” because in the process I might have to go through some trials and pain. That was an UNDERSTATEMENT! I had some extremely difficult times and on the heels of the difficulties, a deep depression swept in and threatened to stamp out all hope. I was so down that I could only look up! What a wonderful time of snuggling close to Jesus that followed!

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