Taking a page out of Jim West’s book, here’s some Twitter theology that makes me sigh courtesy of Mario Lopez (a.k.a. A.C. Slater):
I get the sentiment. God’s not a genie. Amen. But that doesn’t mean that “wishing” is wrong or not a form of prayer in an of itself. John records Jesus saying: “ἐὰν μείνητε ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐν ὑμῖν μείνῃ, ὃ ἐὰν θέλητε αἰτήσασθε, καὶ γενήσεται ὑμῖν” (John 15:7). θέλητε is a verb meaning “to desire, want, or wish.” Paul says, “ηὐχόμην γὰρ ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν συγγενῶν μου κατὰ σάρκα…” (Rom 9:3). ηὐχόμην means “to desire something with the implication of a pious wish” (Louw & Nida). Again Paul says, “ἤδη κεκορεσμένοι ἐστέ, ἤδη ἐπλουτήσατε, χωρὶς ἡμῶν ἐβασιλεύσατε· καὶ ὄφελόν γε ἐβασιλεύσατε, ἵνα καὶ ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν συμβασιλεύσωμεν” (1 Cor 4:8). Louw & Nida tell us that ὄφελόν is “that which ought to be if one only had one’s wish.”
Some years ago I did a series of posts on praying to Jesus. One of the posts was on Pauline wish-prayers in 1-2 Thessalonians. It was a pretty good series. Anyway, the point is that the Bible is full of people wishing for all kinds of things. Jesus told the disciples that God would do whatever they wished if they remained in him and his words remained in them. Paul wished that he could be cursed and cut off if it meant the salvation of his people. He also wished for Corinthians to knock off the nonsense of their pretend reign. Wishes aren’t inherently evil. They need not be directed to genies. God can and does hear our wishes, wants, desires, and prayers.