Prayer Keys – Key #3 – “When Good People Have Bad Motives”
There are two categories of “good people”: 1) those, who are not followers of Christ, that just nice, good people who are unselfish and genuinely care about others, and 2) those, who are followers of Christ, that are nice, good people who are unselfish and genuinely care about others, because they try to live their life in a way as to let the light of Jesus shine through. When the first category of people pray with wrong motives, it is most-likely because they don’t really know better. When the second category of people pray with wrong motives, they probably should know better, but some may have not learned yet, or possibly they are being purposefully selfish. Either way, we are all human and, at times, do things for less-than-selfless reasons.
When you are not a Christ-follower, with a personal relationship with Christ, and you pray for things with wrong motives, you probably won’t get the answer you are hoping for. If you are pray for things out of completely unselfish motives, there is a good chance He will give you the answer you desire. The reason is that you are likely more in agreement with God’s character in what you have requested.
When you are a Christ-follower, sometimes you pray and ask God for things out of selfish motives. You may not realize that you are even doing this, but then again you may be keenly aware. When this happens, God isn’t angry at you, He simply waits patiently for you to grow spiritually. The more you mature in your spiritual life, the closer your desires become to matching His desires. And the closer your desires align with His desires, they more your prayers get answered.
If you are a person in the first category and would like to improve the effectiveness of your prayer life, the first thing to do is to give your heart and life to Jesus and enter into a personal relationship with Him. If you are a person in the second category and would like to improve the effectiveness of your prayer life, first you must be willing to honestly examine your motives. Then you need to spend more time learning about your heavenly father and his character, from the Word of God.
You see, in today’s world, we seem to get things backwards. For some reason we think that God is like us. On the contrary, he is not like us at all! His ways are higher that our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. It is true that He made us in His image, but mankind messed up and became rebellious and selfish, making us unlike God. That is where we find ourselves today. God intended us to be like Him in character. We try to bring Him down to our level so we can justify our thoughts and actions. At the same time, He desires for us to transform ourselves (with His help) to be more like Him in our character, integrity, holiness, love, mercy and grace.
Just being a good person doesn’t automatically mean your prayers will be answered. Just being a Christian doesn’t automatically mean your prayers will be answered. God can never be manipulated into giving us what we want. Selfish, manipulative prayer is fruitless prayer. The key is to line your “wants” us to His “wants”. The more pure your motives and the more they line up with God’s will, the more you will see answers your prayers answered.