A Lesson on Prayer from James
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I have been studying James this month. James 4: 1-3 gives us a lesson in pray. In verse 2 he says we don’t have because we don’t ask. We want and want. But the problem is quiet simple; we have left God out of the picture. When we leave out God the self takes over and problems arise. Jesus taught us to deny self in order to be His disciple (Mark 8:34). That doesn't mean we aren't to ask God for things we want but as I continue I think we get a better idea between what we want and what God wants for us.
In verse 3 James says we ask but we don’t receive because we ask in the wrong way. We want to spend it on our own desires for pleasure. Asking does not mean we are going to get. Many times we pray God will bless and guide and bring to fruition our plans. But, they are our plans. We get a false confidence from saying, “we prayed about it” and then we move forward w/o really being open to the fact that God may have an alternative plan. When we prayed all we were looking for was His sanction of our desires, not His will.
Matthew 7:7 says, 7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
John 14:14, 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Without a doubt we have a God who is willing and wanting to give us the desires of our hearts, but those hearts must be pure, God would do us no favor by adhering to our selfishness. We must learn to ask according to His will and that motive requires us to carefully suppress and turn from the lingering selfishness that is in our prayers. Look back at John 14:14 – now read the verse before it: 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
Verse 13 of John 14 I think is the key. We want glory to be brought to our Father. So, will I stop asking for things I want? Probably not. But, I will remember to ask "if it be Your will." Then I will pray for the wisdom to discern His will from my will.
(Some informtion is taken from "Explore the Bible" Adult Commentary - Summer 2009. LifeWay Adults)