Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Motive Behind the Prayer

I often find myself reading the books of Ephesians and James over and over. It's no wonder because both are filled with instruction on dealing with things that hound me constantly.

Just yesterday, I had lunch with one of my best girlfriends and while we were at lunch, she read a scripture to me from the book of James about prayer and why our prayers are not answered. So, last night, after everything calmed down, I picked up my Bible to re-read that passage of Scripture thinking that it was something I needed to meditate on. The holy spirit had other plans for me, though and I ended up reading and re-reading a scripture a little farther down the page at James 1:26, 27. The ones that read:
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. KJV

Before I left my home yesterday morning I got snippy with my husband over something he said to me as I was going out the door. The holy spirit convicted me of it immediately and I remember having a twinge as I walked out the door. The Lord required me to deal with it, privately and publicly by telling my husband I was out of line and should have remained silent.

This morning, I returned to the book of James and continued to read and was brought up short by the holy spirit when I reached this:

James 4:3 And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure. NLT

I have been in prayer a lot recently asking for the Lord to heal me, to set me free from this disease so I won't have to keep putting this man-made poison into my body. I have also been praying for God to set me free from my addiction to food. The Spirit forced me to look at myself and my praying habits with regard to these two things. What is my motive for asking for these things? As I came away from the mirror the Lord sat before me, I saw that I had been asking to give up my food addiction for my own purposes and not because I want to be in submission to God. So I looked at my request for healing and saw the sorry truth: I feel sorry for myself. I see myself as being a young woman inside the body of some little old lady and far to young to have to give up many of the things I have given up instead of a woman who is being tested and tried to determine my ability to trust the Lord in all things.

It was also revealed to me that I am progressing in my faith insofar as when I do pray, I am steadily increasing in my belief in God's ability to answer my prayers.

I know that we all have our own agendas when it comes to praying and seeking God, but at the end of the day, our desire should be to be in complete alignment with His will for us. ...thy will be done... because His will is good and perfect and will work for the good of all.

Lord, Take away my selfishness, my focus on me and inspire me to focus on you and your will for my life. Help me, holy spirit, to be submissive to you in all things. This is the prayer of my heart. Let me be conformed to you, Lord. I want to want you more than anything. I didn't use to understand the verse that says because you first loved me; I love you, but it is more and more clear to me every day. Because of your great love for me, father, I love you more each day. May you be glorified in my life today. I pray in Jesus precious, holy name.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I want my motives to be pure when I pray - to be in the Lord's will and not just doing my own thing. The Lord is teaching you, to be more like Christ. What a blessing!