We said in the first lesson in this series that prayer is meant to be answered. We’re going to take a look at why God sometimes denies our requests.
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (Jam 4:2-3)
Ye Ask Not
Before we address the reasons God denies our prayers, let’s talk about the biggest cause of our unmet needs. The main reason we don’t have what we need is that we fail to ask. God has established prayer as one of the central ways He meets our needs. If you don’t pray, you end up doing without. My realization of that fact has grown since I started writing this series. We’ll look at why we neglect pray another day, but I thought I should at least mention it here.
Ye Ask Amiss
When we do ask, we don’t receive because we ask amiss. This word is sometimes translated evil or sick. Generally, it means bad, bad, physically or bad, morally. In context, the badness here is selfishness, that we may consume it upon our lusts. When we ask God to do things for us that will not honor Him or promote the welfare of others, we are asking amiss. Remember from our last lesson on the Model Prayer that the glory of God should always be one of our main goals in prayer.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Co 10:31)
What About You?
- Do you fail to receive because you fail to pray?
- Do you pray ineffectively because you are praying selfishly?