How we pray and what we pray for can tell a lot about others and ourselves. Today I'd like to to share a few thoughts from the Book James. The first thing we can see in James 1 is that in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life we should pray. James tells us how and where our focus should be when we pray.
- James 1.2-8
- V2 Prayer “should be” joyful!
- V3 Prayer should produce “patience”!
- V4 Prayer brings Christian character
- "Patience perfects Christian character, Jam 1:4, and fellowship in the patience of Christ is therefore the condition upon which believers are to be admitted to reign with Him, Cf. 2Ti 2:12; Rev 1:9. (Vine's Expository)
- V5 Prayer can only be ANSWERED by God!
- V6 Prayer CAN ONLY be accomplished with faith!
- V7-8 Prayer can be neutralized with our doubt!
Now let's look at James 4 and see why we don’t have our prayers answered.
- James 4.1-10
- V1-3 Failed Prayer is symptomatic of a wrong heart! James uses several different words to emphasize the issues of our hearts.
- The word to look at here is passions (hā-do-nā') which is translated as the sensual delight; by implication, desire:—lust, pleasure. Strong’s Concordance
- It is used 5 times in the NT and twice here in James 4
- Jesus used it describe the condition of the hears heart in Lk 8.14
- Paul uses it once in Tit 3.3 speaking of the old life we were slaves to
- Peter uses it 2Pt2.13 describing false teachers
- And here James uses it to relay the point of prayer with a wrong heart/desire
- V4-5 tell us why we cannot be friends with the world and remain a devotion to LORD
I’ve been reading “Keys To a Deeper Life” by A.W. Tozer and this last week as I read his thought on why the church has become impotent regarding prayer. It made me re-think how and what I’m praying for in my own life. He wrote about how we pray for God bless things that He’s not even a part of and we become angry or frustrated when we don’t see Him bless our work. It is because He’s not in the work that He doesn’t show up or bless. How we pray for reveal and secretly we desire to be the one that starts the fire. How we pray for deliverance in family and friends but desire to be the one who leads them to Christ, how we pray for economical increase for the church but desire the financial increase to come to us first. Sobering comments from Mr Tozer but something he spoke of without remorse of the outcome.
- V5 James tells us that God “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” but do we yearn jealousy for the same spirit to dwell within us!
James tells us we cannot be friends with the world and a friend of God. How about you consider this morning your hearts motivation in prayer.
- V6-8 James gives us the nature of approaching LORD and aligning our hearts to His for the purpose of prayer. God always answers prayer we need to become disciplined to His response of our prayer - He answers as He sees fit, because He knows our heart!
- V6 in the NLT reads But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires.
- V7 humility is a necessity to our approach of GOD
- Prayer is powerful and the devil doesn’t want us tapping into its power supply. As christians we need to remember that we are involved in spiritual warfare and we would be wise to know that the enemy is well trained in warfare.
- V8-9 humility leads to GOD but submission keeps us with GOD.
- Submission can only take place after confession, once we see the need for GOD in our life we then we learn that there is no life apart from GOD.
- David said, "Lord, unite my heart to serve thee" (Psalm 86:11).
- V10 once we learn to do these things LORD can utilize us in greater ways because we begin to see that as trust in Him we learn that He will not lead us astray.
We can spend a great deal more time on prayer but my hope and my prayer is that today you would be challenged to turn your heart towards LORD seeking His desires and not your own desires in your prayer life.