When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Have you ever wondered about the purity of your motives when praying? As Christians we pray at all sorts of times -- getting up in the morning, driving to work, sitting down to eat, taking a shower, mowing the lawn, and so on. The danger in this multi-tasking prayer style is that we're not truly focused on our communication. In fact, we may even be "babbling like pagans" (Matthew 6:7a) as Jesus put it when referring to those who pray for show or without real sincerity
In addition to being distracted when we pray this way, it's possible our prayers are all about us. As when we were children, we just ask for what we like. Unfortunately, as adults, our requests might not be much different. Our petitions may sound more sophisticated, but they may still be inwardly focused and self promoting.
How corrupt is our sinful state that even in our prayers to God the old Adam rears his ugly, self-centered head. Consequently, we may communicate with little more than a barely disguised begging for God's bounty, hoping He'll answer according to our will and, as the story goes, make all our dreams come true.
The bottom line is this: it's not all about us. Though the luxuries of this world may appear to hold all we want or need, God knows this is not so. The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2). Then, by the power of God's Holy Spirit, through faith we can put off our old self and put on the new -- created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave transforms the lives of those who believe in Him for salvation. When we pray, let our words be humble and our thoughts centered on the magnitude of what God has done for us through the redemptive work of His Son.
Out of praise and adoration, let us offer to God the right prayer.
THE PRAYER: Dearest Father, many times we ask You for unreasonable things with which to satisfy our pleasures. Remind us this day You only give what is good. Help us to live -- and pray -- as You would have us do. And teach us to seek only those things that are above. Thank You, in the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: This devotion was based on a text submitted by a volunteer working with Lutheran Hour Ministries-Vietnam -- known locally as The Voice of Hope. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), puppet shows, videos, music concerts, and Equipping the Saints (ETS), LHM-Vietnam spreads the message of God's love in Christ Jesus to the citizens to this Southeast Asian country.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.