The book of Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is very valuable - it's worth is "better than profits of silver... and fine gold... more precious than rubies" (Proverbs 3:15). That verse goes on to tell us that "all the things you desire cannot compare with her." Think about that!
Now turn over to James 1 - and notice the juxtaposition of trials (vs. 1-4) and asking for wisdom (vs 5, 6). We can "count it all joy" when we face trials because they produce the wisdom it takes to persevere until the end. Since trials are key to attaining wisdom it should go without saying that wisdom is not only valuable, it is expensive. Wisdom comes at a high personal cost, but "he who loses his life... will find it" (Matthew 10:39).
This is important to grasp because when Proverbs teaches us that "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord," (Proverbs 1:7) this is not an abstraction. Fearing God doesn't happen in a heremetically sealed vacuum container. The Spirit of God chisels the lessons of Proverbs and all of Scripture on our hearts as we walk through life with our Lord.
We should ask for wisdom because it is very valuable. Just remember that it comes at a high price. It is expensive. You'll have to give yourself up for it.
Disclaimer: I love catechisms and affirm them, so don't get me wrong...
I wonder if we are doing our children a disservice when we emphasize Reformed catechisms over the use of Proverbs when training them. After all, Proverbs is an inspired book for imparting wisdom to young children (especially young men) according to Proverbs 1:8...
Here is my concern - are we teaching our children that Christianity is merely about propositions when we drill catechism? Do we subtly impress on them a sort of Gnosticism (theory of secret knowledge) when we instill them with wisdom detached from the concreteness and earthiness of Proverbs?
I know I am creating a bit of a false dilemma here - it isn't Proverbs OR catechism, it is Proverbs AND catechism. I get it. I just can't help but think about our tradition's struggle with rationalism, intellectualism, and pietism without a sense that we've some things out of kilter. Could it be that we really have exalted our systematics over Scripture - even in the way we raise up our children?
If the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, then maybe we should get back to drilling those Proverbs.