Are You Praying the Right Way?
by Laura Davis
“What is causing all the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it your desires battling inside you? You desire things and don’t have them. You kill, and you are jealous, and you still can’t get them. So you fight and quarrel. The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires” (James 4:1-3)
In my last post it was clear that James was dealing with many problems in the early church. Everyone wanted to be in charge. In chapter four he continues to address his concerns over all the quarrels and fights. He gets right to the point too.
These early Christians were far too worldly and far too childish! They sounded like they wanted to have one foot in the world and one foot out. Everyone seemed to be complaining about something and no one was satisfied.
So they got jealous and fought and quarrelled with each other. Hmm…sounds familiar doesn’t it?
People want something, perhaps a change in how things are run and who it is run by and before you know it there is division in the church.
How many of you today are having problems within your own church community?
What about the emergent church and the division it has caused?
It started innocently enough, but now they are so far away from teaching the Word of God that they are leading thousands astray. And all because of people who wanted their way and not God’s. It all seems to start the same way too.
The older folk can’t stand the loud rock ‘n roll music in the church and the younger folk can’t stand the old boring hymns. The old folk insist the hymns aren’t boring and have more substance to them than the repeated refrains that they hear in the newer songs. The younger ones disagree. So what happens? The leaders of the church decide it is time to step into the future and they cater to the young folk.
Unfortunately, by catering to one group, the other group is neglected and what happens then? They leave – by the droves. Unfortunately, now many churches are suffering horribly. Why? Because it is the elderly who were faithfully supporting the church financially. In the end everybody loses.
But what does James say?
The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray!
And the reason they don’t get what they ask for when they pray, is because they ask with wrong motives.
If you are praying for a revival in your church what are your motives? To change the hearts of the young or the old toward your way of thinking?
If you are praying for the right leadership in your church, what are your motives? To get your own way, or to glorify God?
If you are wondering why your prayers aren’t being answered, examine your motives.
What do you really want? Is it in line with God’s Word and His will? If you are causing division within your church then you know you are not at the centre of God’s will. This is not the way of the Lord or His people.
Why are you praying and what are you praying for?
Thank you both very much!
James is very pointed and hard-hitting . . . and relevant to our individual lives and collective life as Christian believers today. Laura, you accurately describe a common scenario in many congregations in our contemporary setting.
Heaven-sent revival, renewal and restoration are needful.
Thank God, these are all possible as we come under the cover of prayer.
Excellent observations, giving much thought for self examination