The Bible teaches us that there is a direct correlation between the outcome of our prayers and the motives behind our prayers. It is written, “You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires. You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God,” (James 4:3-4, AMP).
How many times have we prayed for something and asked the Lord to speak into our hearts and nothing happened? I know it has happened to me many times in my past, however, if you stop and truly think about the motives behind your prayers, were they righteous or were they selfish? Were our prayers for the expansions of the kingdom or ourselves? The reason why I am asking these two questions is that it is important. Before we lift our hands in the air or bow down on our knees in prayer we should have a full understanding of the motives and possible emotions behind our prayers. We know that our God is a God of righteousness and where there is darkness, He will not be there. The same goes for the heart behind our prayers. The Bible is clear that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to godly people who want to do His will (John 9:31). God has also revealed to us in His Word that He listens attentively to the prayers of the righteous (1 Peter 3:12). Lastly, the Bible teaches us that a righteous person can have confidence that if we ask anything according to God’s will He will listen to us (1 John 5:14).
Now by identifying these truths behind how God responds to the motives behind our prayers when our prayers are not being answered maybe we have to look inside ourselves to see if we are the reason why they are not getting answered. Are we seeking to glorify ourselves in this world or are we asking the Lord for something out of selfishness or an unrighteous agenda? Every time we pray, we must focus on why we are praying. Are we praying according to the will of God or are we praying according to our pride or selfish motives? If our heart and prayers do not align with the Word of God they will never get answered. God listens and blesses those who live and act according to His will. This is why the Bible teaches us that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16). If our prayers are not getting answered we really need to take a step back and think about them. What are our real motives behind our prayers? When we can start to do this and identify what we should truly be praying about what we should be praying for, then we start to lean towards walking in a righteous manner and God will hear us.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you open the hearts and minds of all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that you allow us to seek your righteousness and will first before we seek our own selfish agendas. I pray that you give us the discernment to know the difference and to do something about it. Father, thank you for your Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives to continuously work on our hearts. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen!