by Oyindamola Fatusin
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 (NKJV)
The first chapter of the first book of Samuel introduces us to a very interesting story. A gripping narrative of a woman’s faith walk; how she waited and trusted God for several years for a child and eventually became the mother of a great man who led God’s people as a priest, a judge and a prophet.
At some point in our lives, we all have experienced the God-when moments, where we could not connect the God we know to be a loving father with the God who ‘refuses’ to grant our desires of Him.
At such times we search for answers, for the missing link, our hearts seek to know why God remains silent or irresponsive to an obvious legitimate need. We are sure He hears but we cannot explain why we have not received. Most times we settle for convenient explanations – Maybe this isn’t God’s time, Maybe God has something better to give. Without dismissing the possibilities of these ‘convenient explanations’, it is important to pay attention to the caveat to answered prayers given by James – our motives.
The ultimate purpose of prayer is so that God can be glorified.
Hannah might have started her waiting journey from the point where she wanted a child just to prove a point to Peninnah. A point where all she desired was vindication. There was nothing wrong with the desire to be a mother so that the experiences of pain and mockery would cease. Yet, God did not grant her request because it was driven by a desire to gratify self and not to glorify God.
God needed her to come to a specific place of understanding, of His purpose for her situation.
Hannah became a mother the moment she understood in the place of prayer that while she really wanted a son, God really wanted a prophet.
God cannot be pressured or harassed to grant our desires just so we can prove a point. All of His works from creation existed to accomplish an agenda in His plan. If we are only motivated by selfishness, our petitions will be denied and rejected. However, we will receive whatsoever we ask of God when we are motivated by a desire to see God glorified.
One of the most difficult things for us as believers is to admit our hearts are not always right and in alignment with God’s plan. It takes fellowship in prayer to have our hearts checked, to have our intents revealed and changed. As we trust God for ‘things’, ‘desires’ and ‘needs’, God starts with us, showing us our hidden selfish motives, bringing us see and understand His purpose for those desires.
While it may seem as though nothing is changing on the outside, God is at work within us.
God is faithful and He derives no pleasure in withholding any good thing from us. He only wants us to be aware that the things that we seek have a greater purpose to serve in His grand agenda beyond our gratification.
Like the Psalmist, our prayer daily should be; Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; And remove any wicked way in me, And lead me in your own ways.