“You…do not receive, because you ask amiss.” Ja 4:3 NKJV
Sometimes in our prayers we are “me” centered and see God as a genie to be conjured up to fulfill our every wish. Then when we don’t get what we want we think He doesn’t hear, doesn’t care, or maybe doesn’t exist. James says, “You…do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Selfishness is at the root of many unanswered prayers. The first petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “Hallowed be Your name;” the second, “Your Kingdom come;” and the third, “Your will be done” (Mt 6:9-10 NKJV). Note, our first concern in prayer should be what God wants, not what we want. So here are some suggestions for praying with the right mindset:
(1) Ask God to slay your sinful nature. As new creatures in Christ we wrestle daily with our old nature. And as long as that nature has the upper hand, our prayers will be hindered. (2) Ask Him to cleanse you with His blood. You can’t come into God’s presence tainted by sin; you must confess it and ask Him to forgive you. (3) Ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of God’s Spirit enables you to overcome temptation and live according to His will. (4) Ask Him to guard and guide your steps. God’s plan for our lives is always better than anything we could ever devise. (5) Ask Him to use you for His glory. Make yourself available as a servant with a willing heart to do whatever He asks. Bottom line: when you pray with the right mindset you’ll get answers you never imagined possible.