Prayer, Plain and Simple

And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:3)

When I read texts like this one, I perk up. If there’s one thing I desire in this world, it is that my prayers be answered. Afterall, some of my requests are issues of life and death! James gives us a caveat to answered prayer – our motives. When I pray for my children, for example, am I praying that they will behave well so that they will reflect well on me? If that is my motivation, then I can forget about it. God sees through that self-centered motive. He ignores the prayer of the narcissist.


Examine me and rid my soul of self-seeking in my life and in my prayers. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from tendencies toward this evil. You oppose the proud but give grace to the humble. I receive your forgiveness and your cleansing from all egotistical ways, particularly in my prayers. May I never seek what is best for ME, rather may I seek what is best for You, for others, and for Your Kingdom.


Just for fun… “The Prayer of the Selfish Child” by Shel Silverstein…

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

And if I die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my toys to break.

So none of the other kids can use ’em. . . .


~Shel Silverstein

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