When people speak about their wants, they often cite today’s passage with zeal despite having little genuine understanding. We love the idea that the Father will give us the desires of our heart. Unfortunately, when we focus only on receiving good things, we miss the psalm’s context, which is a divine promise with human obligations.
God’s greatest interest is not to indulge us, but rather to give us more of Himself. Self-indulgent prayers overlook the first requirement for the promise’s fulfillment: delighting in the Lord. We are to take pleasure in time spent communing with Him and serving Him. As we read God’s Word and pray, we’ll experience His work in our life, and our faith in Him will deepen.
Over time, our growing trust in God means that we begin to appropriate His ways of thinking. Then committing to His plan—the second requirement—remolds our heart’s desires until they look like His own preferences for our life. Even so, sometimes what God provides may appear very different from what we requested. But when He hears our shortsighted appeals, He answers based on His infinite knowledge and His great love for us. Instead of giving us what we think we want, He bestows the perfect answer to our prayer.
God derives enjoyment from granting our requests, but His greatest joy is hearing us express an earnest desire to know Him better. The by-product of delighting in God and committing to His way is receiving our heart’s wishes. Our primary reward is a relationship with the loving God who offers to share Himself with humanity.