Proper Heart and Motive in Prayer

Taken from
In a previous post, we talked about persistence in prayer as the active seeking of God’s will in prayer, and having the heart of obedience to conform to His desires and purpose for us.

We persist in prayer not to annoy God so that He’ll give in to what we want. We also do not persist just to prove to Him our worthiness so that He’ll grant our request; afterall, no one is worthy enough to reach God’s standard of perfection apart from Christ.

Instead, we do not give up praying because by continuously seeking Him and His will, we are able to see through the mist and understand God’s purpose in our lives. Our wills, in effect, slowly bend down before the Greatest Will which belongs to God. This, however, is possible only with a heart of humility and obedience.

Most often than not, however, we look from the wrong vantage point. We think of ourselves and our need and our benefit above God. James 4:3-4 is a very telling passage:

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God…”

We cannot treat God as a Coca-cola machine where we put in coins of prayer and faith, and demand the results we desire.  He is not our genie nor does He exist for our benefit and glory. It is dangerous to treat Him only as only the final resort, having the attitude that says, “When all human strength and schemes fail, turn to God.”

If we have this attitude, it is good to review 1 John 5:14-15, and note a single very important phrase. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.”

“According to His will” is often overlooked. We can ask God anything but anything is bound by His will. This is the reason why I emphasized the need to persist in seeking God’s heart in prayer and meditation. Unless our requests are aligned with God’s will, He cannot give them to us. Or in the occasion that He does (I’m not sure if this happens), it is only to teach us something and ultimately redirect us to His will.

God gives what we ask of Him not because we have proven ourselves worthy but because through prayer (and study of the Word) we are able to understand God’s desires more and more, and so begin to ask for the things that He wills.

Sometimes we do not notice it, but an intimate understanding of His purpose yields to prayers that actually mirror God’s Word. When we begin to ask the very things God wants for us, we have the confidence that He hears us and will answer.

When we approach God in prayer, may it be that our utmost motive is God’s glory and the fulfillment of His will.

Listen to Christ when He prayed at Gethsemane, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).” This is a rare opportunity that we witness His humanity asking for something that’s not in the Godhead’s salvation master plan. But look at Jesus’ words. He added the very humble phrase, “If you are willing,” and closed it with the words, “yet not my will, but yours be done.”

He knows the agony and pain that he is about to experience. He knows that physical and spiritual suffering that he’ll go through. So, in one moment, he was able to say his very request in Luke 22:42. But what’s amazing is that Christ knows God’s will and He followed it.

How many of us have this same attitude towards prayer? Do we think of God’s glory in all that we ask? Or are we confined to our own benefits and desires? May we consider these things as we seek God’s presence more in our lives.

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Persistence in Prayer

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  1. Thank you :) This is part of my talk in a fellowship last night. I'm putting it in my blog :D