“You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 4:3
Imagine: You’re late for a job interview because you can’t find parking. As you circle the block one more time, you cry out, “Please God, I need this job. If you give me a parking spot, I’ll be front row every Sunday in church.” Just then, a space opens up. How do you respond? “Oh, never mind, I found a spot.” Sound familiar?
Perhaps this example exemplifies the extent of many of our prayer lives. Some may say, “But, the Lord’s Prayer tells us to pray for our daily needs.” Yet, we often confuse our needs with our wants. In doing so, we can get so wrapped up in praying for what we THINK we need that we begin to see God as a great genie in the sky, granting our every wish. But that’s a terrible misunderstanding of God.
Is God going to give you everything you ask for? Absolutely not. Loving parents don’t give their children everything they see in a toy store; likewise, God is not some genie saying, “Your wish is my command.” James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
God wants us to seek His will so that we can learn to understand the difference between our needs versus our wants. When we do, we can knock on the door of heaven and see God pour forth blessings to meet the needs in our lives.