Another older article reworked from 2015. The theme is very similar to “Ask and Ye Shall Receive?” in that it deals with unanswered prayers however the article is focusing more on the sin of putting other desires before the will of God which is a form of idolatry.
God isn’t a Genie to Grant your Wishes
I’ve been hearing a bit from people about the “name it and claim it” section of Christianity. These people treat God like some genie in a lamp to ask for whatever they want. Sure we’ve all had selfish prayers, but did we ever get what we asked for? And if so what was the price? Because we know God doesn’t always answer every single prayer. He also doesn’t give you status, money or romance just because you ask for it.
One of the Less Observed Examples of Christ
In the Gospel of Luke 22:39-46 Jesus asked the Father for another way to save us in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus did not want to face death. Despite the fact that God can do all things, he wanted the sacrifice of Christ to be the way of saving humanity of their sins. In the end Christ’s sacrifice was the most powerful expression of love that has ever existed. But it puts something into perspective. God’s son, being like God in every way, obediently stepped into death, on a cross, after the answer was no. That is not just contentment that is called obedience. On top of this he told his disciples twice to pray not to enter into temptation.
What Causes Fights?
“What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
-James 4:1-4 (ESV)
The sentence ‘You do not have, because you do not ask.’ is one that gets twisted by the “name it and claim it” crowd. What I don’t normally see is the very next sentence, ‘You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.’ Or the one after, that explicitly states that friendship with the world is to become an enemy of God. Vain desires are the root of many unanswered prayers as well as what starts fights. However I recall a certain verse in the book of Luke.
“And he said to all “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
-Luke 9:23 (ESV)
If our cross is not having the latest toys we should consider ourselves lucky. Download Foxes Book of Martyrs. It should be in the public domain, meaning free. You’ll find the Christians before us had it way worse than us. My hope is that people who read this article will make people more thankful for where they’re at.