You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Have you ever considered the ‘why’ behind what you pray for? Do you even remember what, exactly, you prayed for the last time you went before the Lord God Almighty?
Check Your Motives
How amazing is it that the Creator of the universe wants us to come to him with our needs and desires? No matter how big or small they seem to us. He promises to be attentive to our prayers. (1 Peter 3:12 & Jeremiah 29:12)
He also says he will not listen to the wicked or those whose hearts are not joined with Him. So, I ask again, do you consider the why behind your requests to God?
For the past couple of years (maybe longer), I’ve asked God to increase my business income. I write and publish books. I wasn’t asking this for my husband’s income. He makes enough that I don’t have to work outside of the home. I can pursue my creative endeavors. Our bills get paid. We are not in need. However, we are not sitting on a big, cushy, savings nest, either. We have enough to meet our needs.
I kept asking for more. I kept asking that I would be the one to earn more from my books. Do you know what happened? Over time, my sales continued to decline. At first, I just got depressed and discouraged. But then, I lifted my head and began to look at my reasons for asking.
If God was to answer my plea, what would I do with the extra money?
Most likely find new ways to spend it. I had to be honest with myself on this matter. Eventually, I realized that I was probably asking with the wrong motives. I’ve begun to change not only what I ask for, but how I ask for it. I’ve adjusted my view of success, of my self-worth, and my heart’s desires. I’ve been saying for a while now that something was askew, but I wasn’t too sure how skewed or how to fix it.
Check Your Ask
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b
Our prayers need to line up with God’s will. So do our lives. I’m not saying that we have to be perfect before we can pray. Not at all. What I’m saying is that if you want your prayers to be effective, you do need to be standing on solid ground. Are there areas of unforgiveness you need to deal with? Jesus said to take care of that first. (Mark 11:25)
Check your heart. Are there things that need to be dealt with first? Trust me, you can’t hide your bitterness, anger, or your sins from God. May as well get them out in the open and let Him help you make things right. Then your prayers will avail much.
Here is another point I want to make. God will not answer a prayer that in the long run might bring harm or problems that we are unable to foresee.
He is good. He loves us. He wants what is best for us.
Check Your Why
Motives matter. A lot.
Sometimes, we can be blinded by our hearts and emotions as to why we want what we want. I had to ask myself why I wanted to earn an income when my husband was making enough for both of us. I mean, it never hurts to have a little more, right? It’s great to have a cushion to fall back on. But my reasonings were nothing more than pretty decorations I was using to hide my real motives for asking this prayer over and over.
The truth of the matter was, I didn’t feel that I had value unless I could earn my own way.
What a terrible lie from the enemy. What I earn does not dictate my value. God does. And He finds me, and you, very valuable, indeed. So valuable, He was willing to die a horrible death to secure your eternity with Him. That’s a very high price, don’t you think?
If you aren’t sure about your motives, try to pray as David did in Psalms 139:23-24:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me into the way of everlasting.”
Ask God. He promises to answer. God never goes back on a promise. Never.
Check Your Faith
Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
When you pray, do you truly believe that God is interested in what you have to say? That He loves you? That He wants your desires to line up with His desires for you? He promises in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”
As I said before, He wants good things for his children. He’s a good, good Father. Do not let doubts or fears get in the way of your prayers. When we speak to a friend, don’t we speak with confidence? With God, we can be the same. That’s the kind of relationship he wants with you.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
God still might not answer the way we want, in the time we desire. Have faith and trust that your Heavenly Father has your best interest at heart and that He wants what’s best for His children and His kingdom.
When your motives are right on, you can be certain that God is listening. You can have confidence that what He has in store for you is going to be the best answer for you. Pray with boldness. Pray with an open heart. Pray with confidence in the fact that however He answers, it will be okay with you.
Next time, I want to talk about how to keep track of what you pray for. Oftentimes we pray and forget it. Then, when God answers, we don’t even realize it. I’m guilty of this. I’ve come across a discovery that has changed not only how I pray, but how effective my prayers have become over the past few months. I want to share this little discovery with you!
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.