When the Door to Prayer is Closed

You do not have,
because you do not ask God.
                —James 4:2

When we don’t pray, the door remains closed: “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

And when we do pray, the door still remains closed to wrongly-motivated prayer: “You do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (Jas 4:3). As Barclay translates it: “Your only desire is to spend what you receive on your own pleasures.”

If we only pray for the things that will gratify our desires, our prayers are selfish. James didn’t list the specifics of such prayers; he didn’t need to: an honest evaluation of our prayers will tell us if this text has nailed us.

The attitude of the self-centered is, “My desires be satisfied.” The proper attitude of prayer is, “Your will be done.”

Keep prayer God-centered.

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