You Ask Wrongly

By Amber

Today, I’d like to talk about prayer.

“…You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” – James 4:2-4

I’ve pretty much always understood that praying to God for a red corvette probably isn’t going to do anything. Even in much scriptural ignorance, that was a concept I could grasp: you should ask for things that are according to God’s will, and that generally doesn’t include material goods for you to enjoy.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until recently that I heard another way this verse might apply to our lives: a way that I surely have been guilty of.

…you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

With absolutely no proof to back this up other than my limited experience: one of the most common sort of prayer requests I hear is for health. The ultimate petition to God is one to extend our time here on earth. But why?

Occasionally, I’ll hear prayers at gospel meetings that the visiting preacher will be granted “many more years in Your service,” and I think that’s appropriate. But shouldn’t this be the prayer of, and for, every disciple of Christ?

Are we asking wrongly, that we may spend our extended days on our pleasures and passions? On the enjoyment of this life? On friendship with the world; enjoying the world?

Enmity; hostility, and generally suggesting a mutual and active hatred. James says that if we wish to be friends of the world, we are wishing an alienation from and hostility between us and God. The things of the world, the pleasures of it and the seeking of those things opposes God. His will is heaven-centered. His will is that the gospel be spread and all come to repentance and obey Him. Are we serving that will, or our own?

Do we fervently pray for more time so that we may reach more people with the gospel and encourage the saints and help those in need and have many more years in His service?

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” – Philippians 1:21-24

Just a simple thought for the day

What are you praying for?

And why (I mean the real ‘why’ that Almighty God knows, not the ‘why’ that seems legit when you justify it to everyone else)?

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” – 1 John 5:14-15

“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” – Ephesians 6:18

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”” – Matthew 26:39

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

6 thoughts on “You Ask Wrongly

  1. Very good, very good. This is exactly the point I made in my sermon not too long ago. I did discover though that the thought James proceeds with in verses 13-17 relates to the same idea. James is talking about the arrogant boasting of ‘tomorrow’ and how we go on thinking that ‘we’ll do this or that in such and such a city.’ We assume we’ll be given the time to live life in such a way as to suit our pleasures but have we said “Lord willing”? Honestly, we do not know what will happen tomorrow. We might be in such a situation that we’re not expecting simply because God would be more glorified – even death. We have to remember that our life is but a vapor.

    Whether we go or stay or pray for longer life – let it all be done by His will, for His glory.

  2. … Great thoughts! … not so simple … How powerful to pray His will. It strikes me that, often, we pay for God’s will in our lives, but, when we pray for others, we leave that phrase out. We pray God’s will to be done in your life, your husband’s life, and in your ministry. May we all seek first to be obedient to what He wants, and always seek Him to find out what’s next. Don’t we so often seek His face, but not His will? Our Pastor always says that, so often, we are more interested in what’s in God’s hand than in His heart.
    Blessings, Ted and Carol

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