Wrong Motives

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

James 4:3

When people talk to God and ask for things, sometimes it feels like nothing happens. Have you ever wondered why it seems that your prayers aren’t answered? James wrote a letter to Jewish Christians who apparently had the same questions at the time.

James wrote about two reasons why prayers might not be answered. One is when we ask for things that are not aligned with what God wants for us. The other is when we ask for things just to make ourselves happy and not to help others or honor God.

The Greek word “kakos” means troublesome or bad and explains what “asking amiss” means in today’s scripture. It’s the same as asking for things that don’t fit with God’s plan for us. Even if we pray often about it or really want something, God won’t provide it if it’s not in line with His Word. Asking amiss can also mean we’re so worried about what we’re asking for that it makes us anxious and upset. The Bible says that which is not of faith is sin.

James goes on to write about people who want things so much that they’re willing to fight or even hurt others to get them. God won’t give us things that will harm us or make us love them more than Him. When we ask for stuff like money or a new job, God looks at why we want it. The question remains: Is it just to show off or make ourselves happy, or is it to help others and honor God?

To be truthful, we’ve all prayed self-centered prayers, focusing solely on our own desires. These prayers didn’t align with the responsibilities believers are tasked with, such as advancing God’s kingdom, reaching out to the lost, assisting the poor, and glorifying God. However, God wants us to appreciate the blessings He provides without placing them above Him. He examines our hearts, understanding the motives behind our prayers. No pleasure or desire should take precedence over God in our lives. He should always be the center of our joy.

Have you ever prayed with the right words but out of fear? Have you ever prayed for something that, had you received it, might have displaced God’s level of importance in your life?

God, there have been times in my past when my prayers were filled with my selfish desires or with fear and anxiety. They went unanswered. Please correct me when I pray inappropriately or with the wrong motives. I confess that I have the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to assist and correct me when I pray. I will pray in faith and in agreement with Your Word. I will receive results from my prayers being answered. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Upcoming Connect 21 Events

  1. Prayer Masterclass, Wednesday, Jan 10th via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/@linkedupnorth)
  2. Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 13th @ 9 am at The Way Woodstock 109 Towne Lake Pkwy, Woodstock GA)
  3. Sunday Morning Service (Jan 14th @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)