James 4:3, NKJV “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Many times when we pray and do not see the answer to what we have asked for, the problems is that our hearts are out of line. If God were to answer some prayers, he will be gratifying a sin that He describes as the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all evil. We can expand the application of the verse to say that the love of material things or the earnest desire for sensual gratification is the root of all evil.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, while teaching on prayer He says, “Do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” (Matt.6:5). You’re probably thinking “that’s extreme…I don’t do that”. However if your motives in prayer are to receive favors that would cause the eyes of the “competition” to be upon you, then you’re in the same category. This is what James 4:3 alludes to.
Your prayers should not be self-seeking, dishonorable or made with motives that seek to outshine your neighbor. Those who do not know God are driven by such motives (Matt.6:32). Rather than seek personal gratification, Jesus says “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt.6:33)
Scriptures to Meditate: 1 Cor.13:4-8, Matt.6:5-33, Ps.139:23