GOD HAS GIVEN ALL THAT YOU NEED FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS:
SO WHY PRAY? PART 2
(PRAYER TO EFFECT A CHANGE)
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:3 KJV
In capsule 36 we discussed the primary reason or purpose for prayer , which is to commune or fellowship with God, to know Him spirit to Spirit . I stressed that in my estimation this should constitute 95% or more of our prayer life (John 17:3). A few of my readers felt that I have overemphasised it and that my submission even bordered on arrogance on my part. Far from it! this is something I constantly need to remind myself too. Consider this, God has a deep need to be believed (Hebrews 11:6), but how do you believe 'Somebody' you do not know intimately, and how do you know "Somebody' you do not fellowship or spend time with? It's really simple when you really think about it, even in the natural we are more confident and relaxed with people we know well (John 4:22-24).
As promised, we would look at 'Prayer or praying to effect a change' starting from this capsule. I would like to approach this systematically and it might take a few capsules (even though it will not be exhaustive). We all have needs/desires and God has made more than enough provisions to meet them. Knowing this, our prayers should not be based on desperation or anxiety (Philippians 4:6, Matthew 7:7-11)
To start with I would like to draw your attention to James 4:2-3, but let us start from verse 3. It says the reason why you ask and don't receive is because you ask amiss or you ask with the wrong motive, and this wrong motive is based on lust or self-centredness. I know this sounds very deep, but honestly it is not. Verse 2 tells you why lust is an obstacle. Lust does either of two things, it either destroys you or somebody else according to James 4:2, can you see that? So let me make this submission, it is not God who is not answering your prayer, you are the one asking amiss based on wrong motives or let me put it in another way, it is not God saying No to your prayer, you are the one praying amiss (there is a big difference between the two, God will give you understanding). This leads to another question, 'How do I know whether I am asking amiss or driven by lust?' There are two principal ways to ensure this,
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”
Psalms 89:34 KJV
The first step is, you must know that God will not answer any prayer outside His covenant. He has made no provision for such exigencies, it's a law . In fact it is dangerous to make such requests (I don't have enough room here to explain why). Every request, desire or prayer must pass this test. The will of God is found in His covenant, no where elsewhere.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12 KJV
The second is that the inspiration for your desire must come from God and the best way to ensure this is if you continually fellowship and delight yourself in Him. As you spend time with God, some pure desires would be inspired in you (Philippians 2:13). Whatever God authors, He will finish (Hebrews 12:2a), we would talk more about this when we come to praying in tongues.
These two steps are crucial if you want to pray to effect changes effectively. The first step is universal, the second step you will learn by experience. Once you appreciate the importance of these two steps we can discuss the dynamics and that is what we will do in the next few capsules.
WHAT GOD INSPIRES , HE FINISHES