I’ve called my dad countless times and said, “Hey, Pop – what are you up to today?” I’m guessing the first couple of times I started the conversation that way he thought I was genuinely asking about him and his day, just checking in with him to see what he had going on.
He quickly learned that what I really meant was, “Hey – I have this small project that is actually going to turn out to be very complicated and difficult and although I can’t predict that right now will you drop all your plans for the day and come take care of it?”
He’s learned to discern my true motive.
We wonder why God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to or why he seems to be silent on a given situation. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” (James 4:14) We can’t hide our true agenda from God. He is God, after all.
So here’s what we need to ask ourselves – why are we asking God for a certain outcome, to change a person, to fix a situation? Why? Is it out of sincere concern and a true desire to see God’s plans carried out or is it to fulfill some selfish need that festers deep inside our souls? What is our true motive when we go to God in prayer?
The one true motive should be to see God’s will carried out here on earth. Pretty simple, except life isn’t simple and we don’t understand why things are happening the way they are so we start asking with the wrong motives. “Hey Jesus will you give me this promotion so I can tithe more?” is really “I want to make more money so I can buy a lake house.” And “Jesus can you get my spouse to do more around the house?” sounds more like “I’m selfish and want him to do more for me than I’m willing to do for him.”
Jesus, our Savior, with the purest of hearts said to His Father before his crucifixion, “’Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (Mark 14:35)
Jesus had 100% confidence that God could change his destiny if He chose to, but only if it fit into God’s greater plan. No one wants to suffer, but sometimes that is exactly what has to happen to achieve the greater victory. Are we willing to suffer? To watch our loved ones suffer? Are we willing to have less here on earth if it means eternal glory?
Jesus gives us the model for prayer. Not my will, not my way. Let me be used in God’s greater plan, used for His glory whether I see His plan or not, whether I understand it or not, whether I like it or not.
Purify your motives in prayer.
Blessings to you on this Thursday!