In January 1971 the late Janis Joplin released a song with the following lyrics,
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
Although popular with her fans, the song is a sad parody of prayer, not surprising from a singer involved in drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. When she died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27, she was found clutching a pack of cigarettes and a wad of money.
Even more tragic is the tendency of many people (including some Christians) to think of God as a genie, ready to grant virtually any request. But the God of the Bible discourages such thinking. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Asking God to bless us with a luxury home, expensive car, or a bigger bank account is a symptom of love for the world - NOT good (1 John 2:15-17). A desire for possessions can lead us away from God and down the path of spiritual destruction.
So how can we handle desires for the “good things” in life?
We should remember that Jesus was poor and homeless, yet without complaint (Matt. 8:20).
We can pray that God will help us transform our thinking (Rom. 12:1-2).
We can pray that God will help us develop self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
We can pray that God will help us learn that contentment with godliness is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6).
We must remember that we will carry nothing to the grave (1 Tim. 6:7).
We can be more generous in giving to God (2 Cor. 9:6-9).
We must remember that what we give (or do) to help others will result in treasures in heaven (Matt. 19:21-22).