4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
I was having a conversation the other day about the power of prayer and they mentioned that world record triple jumper Jonathan Edwards would pray for God to help him to succeed up until the point where he broke the world record. After this point, he apparently struggled with the advantage that God had given him and found himself struggling with prayer and asking God for what he wanted.
While the scripture in James 4:2-3 is framed negatively, it gives me great confidence that when I pray and ask God for something, if my relationship with God is strong and my motive is pure, I can ask with confidence and know that God is pleased with my asking. Whether I am asking for peace, success, blessing or talent, it is God’s desire for me to be able to express my desires to him without fearing whether I really deserve the answers to my prayers.
Lord, I lay my desires before you and pray that you would bless the readers of this blog!
Written by Ps. Justin Ware