. . .You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it (James 4:2 NLT*). James earlier says that people ask with wrong motives so they don’t receive what they ask for. But that verse makes me wonder just how often God would grant simple desires if we only asked Him for them.
Let me give you an example: Last week I was very busy with several meetings and after one had to go to the bank with a friend to get her signed on an organizational checking account. When we got there, the lady waiting on us discovered my driver’s license had expired by a couple of weeks. Because of law, she couldn’t finish the paperwork for us, so I said I’d go by the driver’s license division on my way home. I’d left early that morning and planned to go to church that night. Since my friend knew my schedule, she prayed that I’d be able to get through the line quickly for my license renewal.
I drove the almost 20 miles and took a number to see a clerk and started filling out the paperwork. Before I got the top portion finished, a woman called my number, so I told her I hadn’t finished. She said to come back when I’d completed it. As I completed the questionnaire, I looked at her station and a man had just left, so I took it to her. She took my picture, had me read a line on an eye chart since I wear glasses and handed me the receipt showing I’d renewed the license.
When I got home I called the lady at the bank and told her my new renewal date, and she said, “Isn’t our Lord good!” She had prayed for me also when my friend prayed. The goodness of my Father arranged for me to arrive at the license place when it wasn’t crowded so I’d have the energy left to go to church that night.
I’m convinced we’d all have more opportunities like this if we simply asked our loving heavenly Father. Not that we ask selfishly, but my friend and I both knew if I had to wait an hour or more at the license division, that I’d be too tired to go to church that night, and I did want to go worship God. It was the motive that made the difference.
James 4:3 goes on to say, Even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure. Our motives matter immensely to God, so check them out and then ask your Father for what you need.
* New Living Translation