“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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 NIV
It’s amazing how much we miss out on from God because we do not effectively pray. The effective and fervent prayers of the righteous avail much but why aren’t we being effective?
There are some things that prevent our prayers from being effective. I want to look at them quickly.
- You desire, but do not have, so you kill. Cain wanted the favor of God that his brother Able had to the point that he became angry. God told him that if he did what was right that his offering would also be accepted. Sin was crouching at his door and wanted to sift him. Instead of listening to God’s instructions Cain killed Able. If we would stop focusing on what other people have and seek the righteousness of God he would give us the desires of our hearts without killing others.
- You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. Sometimes we want something more than God wants it for us. When we cannot have what God doesn’t want for us we end up in arguments and fights. God is not the author of confusion.
- You do not have because you do not ask God. Jesus told his disciples to ask and it would be given. We don’t ask God we just try to go take it! When David murdered Uriah because he got his wife pregnant and wanted to hide his sin, God confronted David. He told him, I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! If you would’ve just asked! (2 Samuel 12:8)
- We don’t ask with the right motives. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. When our prayers are selfish and we don’t invest our blessings back into the Kingdom by helping others God will not answer our prayers. God is not going to continue to give blessings to us if he can’t get blessings to others through us. Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than it is to receive!”
Help us to pray more effectively. I know that you want us to have more so we can do more. Search our hearts and if our motives are tainted with selfishness, please correct our mindset so that we can become more Kingdom minded. Father, please release every good thing that we need to do ministry and help the least, the last, and the lost! Father, please hear our prayers!
In Jesus’ Name,