Thanks to all those who were able to provide some information regarding prayer through your participation in the survey. Although more details will be provided once the study begins, two things stood out. First, almost everyone agreed with the idea that prayer plays a very significant role in our Christian walk. William Corey writes, “Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.” Second, many believe that their personal prayer life is in need of improvement. Richard Foster, in his book entitled Celebration of Discipline – The Paths to Spiritual Growth writes, “…we should remember that God always meets us where we are and slowly moves us along to deeper things.”
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss,
that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Okay, I need to be honest about something regarding me and my often-chaotic prayer life. More than not, as I look back to consider my prayers, I see them focused on me…my perceived needs, my wants, what I think is best in order to benefit me. Okay, wait, I am not saying that any of that is necessarily wrong; that is, until one’s prayers are simply all about me. This appears to be part of the problem with those whom James is writing to. One person writes, “To ask ‘rightly’ involves transformed passions.” So, what are you passionate about? Those James is writing to had asked “amiss,” or as the NIV says, “with wrong motives.” This word carries with it the sense of doing something improperly, wrongly and its use in this verse carries the impression of bad intent. The significance of this whole idea is the simple fact that such prayers often go unanswered.
I look forward to the weeks ahead, as I seek to better understand the role and purpose of prayer in the Christian’s walk. As we journey through this class, may the Lord empower us to be more fervent and deliberate as we seek to communicate with our Lord. One thing is for sure, if we seek to be intentional in our prayer life in a God focused way, good things will take place. I know this because “…the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers” (1st Peter 3:12). Thank You Lord for your patience with us!