“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:2, 3 NASB
Is there anything wrong with asking God for personal needs? Of course not! Jesus Himself said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). God is our Father, and He wants to bless us. However, He, and He alone deserves glory. When we ask of God selfishly, for the purpose of bringing glory to ourselves, we are asking with wrong motives; that prayer will go unanswered. Yet, when we are in need and we ask God to provide for us our need, we give Him glory because we are trusting in Him with full dependency.
In Luke 19:10-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee who had these wrong motives. Jesus said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, bemerciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Notice, Jesus said the Pharisee “stood and was praying this to himself.” This was an all about me prayer; a prayer that is abominable to God. The Pharisee had no desire to give God glory for His life. He only desired to bring glory to himself.
On the other hand the tax collector didn’t even feel worth to lift his head before a holy God. Yet he trusted in God, depended on God, and called upon God. He knew he had no hope apart from an almighty, all-merciful God.
What is the motive of your heart today? Is it to bring glory and exaltation to you? Or, is it to bring glory and exaltation to God?