The stories usually depicted villains that used their many tactics to try and destroy the heroes, but ultimately, the heroes would always conquer or live happily ever after. These fairytales never ceased to place a smile on my face.
I remember being quite fascinated by the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. With a simple rub of his magic lamp, a genie would appear to grant Aladdin's wish. With the genie's help, Aladdin was transformed from poverty into a rich and powerful ruler who marries a princess, and they live happily ever after.
As a child, I often thought how remarkable it would have been to have such a genie to grant my every wish. I could have the biggest doll house or even get the genie to build a mansion for me and my family.
As I continued to grow, I came to realise that life is not a fairytale. I learned that in order to get anywhere in life, I had to work hard. Life has its ups and downs and it doesn't always turn out to be a "happy ever after" fairytale ending. There are no such things as genies that will have me as their master and grant my every wish for prosperity. Or even a fairy godmother that will turn my pumpkin into a posh limousine to take me to a ball.
A couple of weeks ago at a bible study group, a number of us really felt the need to pray for the state of the churches in Australia. Many of us felt that there was a lack of real passion for God in many of our churches today. We don't recognise the utter importance of prayer, we accept things that are against God's word, we welcome "feel good" theology preaching and the list goes on.
We were reminded of the letter to the church in Laodicea, where people were neither hot nor cold for God but only lukewarm. A church that thought they were rich because they acquired much wealth, but didn't realise that in actual fact are spiritually poor, blind and naked (The Revelation 3 verses 14-22). We all recognised our own shortcomings and prayed for a change. That we would return to our first love (God) and be on fire for God alone.
That day, I was reminded that one of my shortcomings is the lack of prayer and fasting. How can I strengthen my relationship with God, and seek his guidance if I don't continually communicate and listen to God? So often when I have prayed, I have treated God as if he were a genie in a lamp – God grant me this and grant me that. As if I expect him to snap his fingers and voila all my requests are delivered. It has been more about what I want in my life, instead of offering myself to God to do His will in my life.
A million times greater
Life is not a fairytale so why should I treat God as if He were one? Isn't God a million times greater than that?
We have such a privilege in prayer. We can speak directly to God through His son Jesus. I am ashamed to say that I have often failed to recognise the power of prayer. One method in which Satan can use to distance us from God is by distracting us from praying or being selfish in our prayers. You see, I believe even Satan himself recognises the power of prayer! There needs to be both quantity and quality in our prayers. It should be more about how I can serve God, and not what I can get from God.
The bible is not just another folktale, but is the actual living word of God. Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to pray (The Lord's Prayer - Luke 11 verses 2-4) and how often we should pray (Jesus prays on many occasions in the bible e.g. Luke 9 verse 28, John 17, Luke 22 verses 39-44).
I also realise that when I pray, not only should I ask God for an answer, but I should also be willing to accept the answer He gives me. I am not always going to get the answer I am looking for - it's not always going to be a happy ending. But I pray that God can give me a sense of peace regardless of the answer I receive to my prayer. I should humble myself before God and seek Him always.
God is not a genie. God is not a fairytale. God is real. God is love. God is all knowing and powerful. God is the great I AM. God is the beginning and the end.
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.
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