1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. - James 4:1-3
These verses call out Christians on their prayer life. The reality is many of us do not pray faithfully. Some will argue they pray constantly - shooting up those arrow prayers whenever we are asked or they occur to us. Lord, help my sister. Lord, help my finances. Lord, heal that boy. Or perhaps we say that same prayer we’ve been taught over and over without really thinking about.
We often don't pray like we should because when we do, God doesn't seem to answer. I have been praying for the salvation of my sons for many years now, and I’m still waiting. Why continue? We stop praying when we haven't seen answers. But the problem isn’t in the answers, the problem is with our prayers and with our hearts. James explains in these verses that either we want wrong things, or we ask for them wrongly. That’s some hard truth for those of us who wait patiently on God to move in an area we’ve been praying over for a long time. But we know in order for there to be a breakthrough, there must be some personal honesty. So we lean in and look at our hearts. Sometimes you have to tear down the facts to get to the fault in the foundation. What are those things you are praying for? And why are you not receiving them?
The problem is what we want and we want it how we want it. God promises himself as the answer to our deepest longings; if we don't have something, it's because we don't want it and don't ask.
Scripture is very clear - God gives grace to the humble, not to the proud. Sometimes we can desperately repeat our prayers over and over to God, hanging on to what we want God to do in our lives with white knuckles. We think we know what’s best, so instead of accepting where God has us in life, we beg Him to change it. We fear where He may take us, and we fervently pray for it to be easy. If we are clinging to what we want in prayer, we are not humble. Our prayers are prideful as we demand what we want, then question His goodness as His plan takes us in a different direction.
He calls us to come to Him in prayer with open hands. When we can pray the words “I trust you in this”, we are walking with a heart of humility - and that’s when His grace pours out on us. He gives grace to the humble. If you are not experiencing His grace, check your heart.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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