“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask, and you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James: 4:2b-3
Why is it that we simply miss out on this incredible power source? Is it because we don’t take time to pray?
- We feel we’re too busy. Period.
- There are a lot of people that are so self-reliant that if they begin to pray, it becomes an acknowledgment that they need help outside of themselves. You almost feel like prayer is a cop-out, rather than strength from God to enhance what you do.
- There are bound to be people that just don’t really believe in the power of prayer. You’ve asked, and it hasn’t been given to you. And because of the disappointment of your prayer life, you’ve decided to give up on it. Did you know that part of why prayer is powerless is we simply don’t pray?
- We give up on prayer because we have the wrong motives. We see prayer as calling on God, this genie in the sky. If we can just get His attention, He’ll give us exactly what we want. But God’s Word is very clear. That’s a big reason that our prayer life can become powerless because we’re focused on what we want usually in regard to material needs. And in the process, we can find prayer very disappointing.
All of you grandparents know what it’s like to take a young child into a store – especially a toy store. That child sets their eyes on something that they want and you feel like it’s best for them not to have it. And all of a sudden you’ve got a meltdown on your hands. You know everybody is looking at you and you grin sheepishly. “Gimme this!” “I want that!” “I HAVE to have it!” And sometimes, all of a sudden, something seizes your heart and we weak grandparents end up giving it to them! I don’t know what happens to all of my parenting skills and self-discipline, but it’s like they just go out the window.
What does this have to do with prayer? Well, God is not a grandfather. He’s a Father. And as a loving Father, He knows what is best for His children. Grandfathers often lose their minds and forget what is best, but a good father seeks to be conscious of what is best for his children. And that’s how God is with us. When we’re asking with a selfish motive in prayer, we can be very disappointed in our prayer life. You see, more times than not, our prayers are “all about me,” rather than trying to understand how God wants us to pray.