It's February 28; Good Morning Union

“You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives.”       James 4:3

Possibly one of the greatest reasons for what appears in many Christians’ lives as the cause for “unanswered prayers.” It’s a pretty challenging message but one that has, and continues to change my prayer life—for the better!

I think too often prayer is “used” like a magic lamp with a divine genie inside. Use it when I need something expecting to get what I want by just asking. You get three wishes, so use them wisely! Though God, out of His kindness, probably does answer some of the self-gratifying prayers, most of prayer life, or lack of it, is either disappointing or deleted from life’s options because it “just doesn’t work.” I don’t get what I want so why bother?

James suggests that the reason I don’t get what I want is because I “ask with wrong motives.” And what is that “wrong motive?” “You ask SO THAT you can spend what you get on your own pleasures.” Ouch, that hurts, probably because it’s too true. So now here’s a little spiritual experiment that I tried one time (and then continue to repeat as needed.) I Analyzed my prayer life and listed the things I ask for that would benefit ME, then I listed the things I asked for in prayer that would benefit God. Which list was longer? Mine was SO lopsided in favor of the former list that it was embarrassing!

I know God understands, but I also believe that I am the major cause of my prayers not being answered. When I pray for good weather, that’s usually for me. I want sunshine so my picnic won’t be messed up. What if God wants to provide rain for the farmer who is dependent on moisture for his survival? Whose prayer should He answer? I pray for a good grade; why? So I can improve my chances of graduating and landing a good job? What if God knows it would be better for me to have a reality check on responsibility? The list could go on but I’ll spare you the journey! I’m sure you can find plenty of your own illustrations.

I have reached the place currently in my prayer journey that I very intentionally try NOT spending that time communicating with God filled with MY requests and replace that with acknowledging that I recognize His supreme wisdom and that I know He knows what is best in every situation. My connection time with Him is fortifying my confidence in Him and His ways, and focuses on “thank yous” for anything I can think of where He deserves the credit. I’m almost afraid to ask for things, even though I believe He likes to take care of me and give me good things. I just want to be sure that the “good things” He’s giving out are what HE thinks are good for me more than what I think are good for me.

God is God, not a genie; and I’m glad of it. Genies run out after three requests. God’s presence and persistence in building me into what He wants is endless and limitless. I just need to focus on HIS plan over mine.

Have a great day praying for HIS will,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: “Because of God's wisdom prayer will SOMETIMES change the circumstances but will ALWAYS change you.” Paul Opp

PS           Don’t forget the Jacob fund today! Bring your financial support to Campus Ministries today or to Power Pac tonight. Thanks for whatever you can do.

PPS                Family Worship is the continuation of Power Pac with Karl Haffner; “Are You More Spiritual Than a 5th Grader?” C U in the church @ 7:30

PPPS                Afterglo will be hosted by the Human Development Division and will happen in the Atrium right after vespers. Come enjoy music, fellowship, refreshments and a chance to make an impact on someone else’s life.  Come learn more about “Bubbles of Hope” as we “Pop a blessing” on someone else!! J