James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Prayer is a time of submitting our lives to the lordship of Christ. How then can we bring our own selfish desires and activities to God’s throne and expect His blessing?
One of our greatest problems is that we have a generation of self-seeking, manipulative Christians. We have learned the methods of the world and tried to mingle them with the method of God. Many well-meaning believers initiate an idea or ministry without consulting the Father. Mass-marketing techniques and appeals for funds are used to launch ministries. Things often go well until we reach the limits of human ability. Then we begin to pray fervently for God’s assistance.
But God refuses to answer. He had nothing to do with self-motivated and self-initiated prayer in the beginning, and He has nothing to do with it now. The windows of heaven are open only to prayer that is initiated and centered in the will of God rather than the will of man.
–Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit
Father, forgive me for the selfishness of my prayers! So often I enter into Your presence without considering my motives. I only have gifts and abilities because You have placed them within me. They belong to You and I have grossly misused them. May I slow down to seek Your heart so that whatever idea or plan I may have comes from Your heart instead of my own! Help me to draw upon Your power and ability, continually submitting my will to Yours.
Praise God, whose incomparable riches are revealed in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:7). Give thanks for your inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for you (1 Pet. 1:4). Confess those times when you have valued material things over your inheritance in Jesus Christ. Commit yourself to appreciating daily your inheritance from God (Ps. 16:6). Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you more about what you have received through faith in Christ.
Pray that your church’s giving may be generous in response to neighborhood needs, knowing that as you give, it will be given you (Lk. 6:38).
“Without prayer no work is well done.”—Anonymous
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend