Prayer Keys – Key #2 – “It’s About Motive” [Addendum added on 2/17/17 at the bottom of the post]
Often we pray and ask God for things we want or need. Often we don’t get what we ask for. Have you ever wondered what sort of factors determine whether or not we get answers to our prayers? I think one important deciding factor is motive.
When you ask God for something, it is helpful to examine your motives for asking in the first place. We like to quote scriptures like “He will give you the desires of your heart,” and “ask anything in My name and I will give it to you,” etc. To many, the view is that God is just sitting around waiting to grant our every wish, much like a genie in a lamp. As it turns out, that isn’t actually the case.
This second prayer key is found in James 4:3 where it says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” God is more than pleased to give us the things that we ask for that line up with His will and His character. John 14:13 tells us, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Jesus says that He will do whatever we ask Him to do SO THAT the Father may be glorified in the Son. His purpose in answering our prayers is not so that we can spend these things on our pleasures. His purpose in answering our prayers is to glorify the Father. He is deserving of glory, we aren’t.
If you ask God to give you more money, a bigger house, a nicer car, or other material things, does that glorify the Father and make Him look good in the eyes of others? On the contrary, it points toward us. People say, “look how successful that guy is,” or “look at that self-made woman.” On the other hand, if you ask for things for other people who are in need, and they receive them, you can point to the Father and say, “isn’t God good!” “He has met their needs.” This glorifies the Father.
Our heavenly father truly loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. However, giving a child everything they want seldom leads to anything good. It usually leads to a spoiled child, which further develops into a selfish, ungrateful, egocentric adult. That’s not the kind of children our heavenly father is trying to raise!
So now that you know (from Key #1) that your relationship with God, your heavenly father, is important for your prayer life, now you also know that we should be unselfish in our prayers and we should pray for things that will bring honor and glory to God.
Addendum on 2/17/17 (for prayer key #2)
I referenced Psalm 37:4 above in the second paragraph. It says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As I was reading today, I ran across a passage in 2 Thessalonians chapter one, that supports the verse from Psalm 37. It is the eleventh and twelfth verses of chapter one. It says, “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice it says that “He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” Although God says he will give you your desires, He clarifies that He is referring to those desires FOR GOODNESS and PROMPTED BY FAITH. These don’t include our selfish desires but only those that line up with God’s desires.
In addition, it goes on to explain WHY He is going to grant your desires: “so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him.” Again we are reminded that it’s not about me, but it’s ALL about Him!. When you take our focus off of yourself (your wants, your problems, your needs) and spend time finding out what He wants and trying to work tow fulfilling His desires, then you will be amazed at the changes that will begin to take place in your life!