“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
Jesus gives us examples of requests or petitions throughout the New Testament. He petitioned His Father in John 17. When Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer, or what I think should more properly be called the disciples’ prayer, in Matthew 6, we find several petitioning thoughts. James makes it clear in the fourth chapter that the main reason why we do not receive is that either we do not ask or we ask with the wrong motive. Praying with humility leads us to ask with the right motive, which is having the kingdom—not ourselves—as the main beneficiary of our prayers.
When I pray mainly for my safety, security, comfort, or lack of effort, I have put myself at the center of the universe instead of God. That is pride, not humility. Jesus did not come to make us safe, secure, comfortable, or lazy. He came to make us holy. God gives grace to the humble, and following Jesus’ example of praying with humility opens up His vault of grace. He desires to do so for His glory, not mine.
–Adapted from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune.
Forgive me, Father, for my selfish praying that doesn’t focus on Your kingdom! Change my heart so that Your holiness guides my prayers! Transform me so that everything I ask is motivated from purity and humility rather than my own self-absorbed agenda.
Praise God for all his mighty works (Ps. 46:8-10), for his power, his majesty, his magnificent splendor over all the earth. Thank God for this psalm’s very clear and uplifting picture of God’s grandeur. Confess that you sometimes live as if God were small, powerless, and expendable. Commit yourself to serving this grand and glorious God with humility and reverence. Ask God to reveal something of his splendor in your life this week.
Pray that “the works of the Lord” might be so evident as to draw unbelievers to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Ask for spiritual blinders to be removed.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend