Unoffered prayers. Unconfessed sin. Unbelieving minds. According to David Jeremiah, these are three possible reasons we don’t receive answers to our prayers. Today, we’ll look at the problem of unrighteous motives.
Again we’ll turn to the book of James for a proof text:
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
The original language speaks primarily to prayers that are “asked wrongly.” But since the WAY a request comes to God is not that important, scholars rightly conclude that what’s wrong with the request made to God is the WHY. What’s the motivation behind the request? And while there may be a multitude of possible wrong motives, James points out a common one – selfishness.
If I were to take an honest look at my prayer list, I have to acknowledge that many of those requests are pretty selfish. I want comfort and ease; pleasure and peace. In many ways it’s like I’m praying “Thy will be CHANGED,” (instead of “Thy will be done”). And James says that I shouldn’t expect much in response to such prayers.
However, when the desires of our heart line up with the desires of God, then we can expect our prayers to be heard and answered. John says it this way:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Give some thought to the WHY behind your prayers – are you primarily praying for your will to be done, or His? –Dave
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