Brothers | Closer | Selfish Motives
You ask and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives…to spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
-“I’ve been praying about that promotion at work. It would mean a lot more money. Of course, I’d have to work on Sundays. Couldn’t go to church. And the environment isn’t exactly Christian, but I really want it. Why won’t God answer?”
-“I’ve asked God for a bigger house. We’ve filled ours up with all our junk and that one across town looks like a mansion! It costs more than we can afford, but if we cut down on our giving, we can do it. Believe with me for that house, won’t you?”
There is nothing sinful about either of those desires. A promotion is great and a bigger house is nice too. But are they God’s priorities? What must we sacrifice to have what we want? When our motives are selfish, our prayers end up resembling letters to Santa—the only difference is the “Amen.” “I want this. I want that. Do this. Do that.” Then we’re angry because “God doesn’t answer prayer.” The truth is that God loves to answer prayer when we are asking what He desires to give us. Prayer has power when we first take time to get our hearts right so that we want what He wants for us. When our priorities match His priorities, our prayers change. Instead of, “Lord, give me that promotion or that house,” we pray, “Lord, here’s what I really want and here’s why. But even more, I want your will and your purposes in my life. Do these requests fit that?”
Final Thought: If your prayers have not been answered, check your motives.
Prayer: Father, this could answer a lot. I’ve asked for so many things and didn’t get them, but maybe my motives were wrong. I don’t like to think that greed and discontent inspired those prayers, but check my heart. Help me pray in tune with you. Amen.