Day 16 of Prayer

Daily Scripture

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3

Daily Devotional

“Observe hence, What is sheltered and shrouded under a specious pretence of zeal for God and religion often comes from men’s pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, and revenge.” -Matthew Henry Commentary

We seldom consider ourselves as covetous or lustful of the things of the world. We are much more apt to confess “comfortable” sins that are more commonly confessed. What ends up happening is we forget that we are susceptible as anyone else to the desires of the world. This has certainly happened to me many times during my two years serving the church in Madrid, Spain. So often I have felt the desire for more comforts, more money, more recognition, more respect, and to be highly esteemed and regarded. We can even cover up these desires with a shroud of zeal for God as the quote by Matthew Henry above states. We might not as Christian be apt to admit to these sins that no one else can see, but we know that this is occurring when there is “fighting and quarreling among us." Quarreling can be a symptom of this type of covetousness and idolatry.

In my case, what ends up happening is I can start looking for people to blame when I don’t get what I want or what I think “I deserve." I can say in my heart to God, “Look at all I'm doing for you. Don't I deserve this?” The reality in the scripture above is that we get jacked up because we don’t bring things before God or discuss things with him in prayer. If we ask God, and still do not receive it's because of our motives, it's because it's not actually good for us. I believe that there is never a reason to blame anyone for the things we don’t have. I make it a habit now when I start to feel entitled or that I “deserve better” that I go and I pray to God instead of looking for someone to blame. It's amazing what happens during my prayer: I either realize I'm being covetous and need to repent or God provides me with what I ask for. Either way, I come out a winner in God's eyes and that's the only recognition i should ever need.

Daily Challenge

Identify the things you want or feel you deserve (make a list) and put those things before God in prayer and make a decision not to blame anyone for not having those things. Any time you feel the “entitlement” creep back in make it a practice to pray through those things. Allow God to give you those things or help you see you don’t need them and remember we never have an excuse to blame other people for the things we don't have.