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Thread: Selfish Prayer

  1. #1
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    Selfish Prayer

    On Sunday, our pastor talked about how people pray. He said that most people pray the way they think God wants them to pray. He then pointed out that God already knows what we want, so why not pray for it?

    He used Jerimiah 20:7-18 as an example. As the story goes, Jeramiah was told to preach the word of God, but kept getting ridiculed and no one listened. His last attempt ended in getting arrested and tied up and spit upon. That is when he made his prayer.

    It is honest, selfish and questioning. But it worked.

    I have always felt wrong about praying selfish prayers, but I did it today for an exam in college. I walked out feeling as though I did really well. When I turned on my every Wednesday noontime hairband radio station, Stryper was playing. Not the Crue, not Iron Maiden, but Stryper.

    I feel, as the pastor said, that he heard my prayer because it was honest.

    I learned a lesson and hope that someone else can, too. Be honest to God, no matter what, and he will help you out.

  2. #2
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    Hmmm. Good points.

    I'm currently struggling with feeling like every time I ask God for something I want (even after asking him to align my will with his), he says NO. I know I may as well ask, since he already knows what I want. But I may as well not bother asking, since I know what answer to expect.

    Hmmm. Just thinking out loud here. Thanks for starting this discussion.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esperanza32 View Post
    Hmmm. Good points.

    I'm currently struggling with feeling like every time I ask God for something I want (even after asking him to align my will with his), he says NO. I know I may as well ask, since he already knows what I want. But I may as well not bother asking, since I know what answer to expect.

    Hmmm. Just thinking out loud here. Thanks for starting this discussion.
    Yes, I think honest prayer is the best. And Esperanza, with regard to the "no" answer, think not in terms of a negative, but in terms of "Have a little patience; I've got something better in mind."

  4. #4
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    I find it hard asking for things for myself in prayer

    People often tell me, "ask the Lord, he will provide". Yet with my upbringing I was conditioned not to ask but to just be paitent and wait. It is funny because I am able to pray for others and ask for the Lord to help them, but up until recently I had a real hang up about asking for help for myself. The thing I have found though, since I have started praying for help and guidence, is that I am learning to have joy in the knowledge that God has a plan for me that is wonderful and good and I simply have to have faith that it will come about.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nilla_nz View Post
    People often tell me, "ask the Lord, he will provide". Yet with my upbringing I was conditioned not to ask but to just be paitent and wait. It is funny because I am able to pray for others and ask for the Lord to help them, but up until recently I had a real hang up about asking for help for myself. The thing I have found though, since I have started praying for help and guidence, is that I am learning to have joy in the knowledge that God has a plan for me that is wonderful and good and I simply have to have faith that it will come about.
    I suppose if it (praying for oneself) was good enough for the apostle Paul it is good enough for us.
    And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
    (2Co 12:7-8)
    ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫

  6. #6
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    So...how many people pray to win the lottery every week?

    Zachariah is an example of what you are talking about.

    He was a Levite that won a lottery to give the evening insence on the altar and would say a prayer asking for the Messiah. (service in the Temple was also won by lottery if you had held up the whole law in your life ascribed to Levites) That wasn't what was on his heart though. The prayer he recited was a liturgy...not one he wrote or thought of himself. But he always wanted a son and at this point he had given up on having any children for a legacy.

    God heard his heart anyway...and gave him more than he could have imagined. A son with a legacy that still is amazing. John the Baptist...the forerunner and first proclaimer of Christ and the one who performed Christ's Baptism...And Zachariah got to meet Gabriel...the strength of God.

    God knows the hearts of men...he knows your heart and mine. Mouthing the words of your wants makes no difference.

    otherwise it sounds alot like the song:

    Oh Lord why dontcha buy me
    a Mercedes Benz,
    My friends all drive Porches,
    I must make ammends.

  7. #7
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    Nice Janis reference JohnDB!! I do love music. I am a bit slow on the references that you also wrote about, though. I am not sure if you were saying to be honest or not. I think you were saying not to ask for selfish things.

    I also think that is what my pastor was saying TO DO. The way I took it, if I pray for the selfish things that I want and God does provide, then maybe they aren't as selfish as I thought.

    If I pray for selfish things and don't get them, then I suppose it wasn't God's will. But to pretend that you don't want them by not praying for them is silly, because God already knows what you want. I don't think he meant you were going to win the lotto if you prayed for it. I hope I didn't send that sort of message to anyone, either.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by quinn View Post
    Nice Janis reference JohnDB!! I do love music. I am a bit slow on the references that you also wrote about, though. I am not sure if you were saying to be honest or not. I think you were saying not to ask for selfish things.

    I also think that is what my pastor was saying TO DO. The way I took it, if I pray for the selfish things that I want and God does provide, then maybe they aren't as selfish as I thought.

    If I pray for selfish things and don't get them, then I suppose it wasn't God's will. But to pretend that you don't want them by not praying for them is silly, because God already knows what you want. I don't think he meant you were going to win the lotto if you prayed for it. I hope I didn't send that sort of message to anyone, either.
    There is a fine line between selfish requests and prayers for ourselves.

    Vindication is a thing for God...one of his tools for teaching others about how Good God really is. There are times that others take advantage of us Christians on a regular basis...and do so because they know our nature. (it isn't hard to do) They, in the meantime, want freedom without responsibility. BUT GOD, (I love that expression) wants to make an object lesson and a difference show between the Godly and the ungodly. So God will bless any effort in abundance that one of us Christians makes and meanwhile allows the ungodly's fears and wants to get the best of them all at the same time. When God chooses to vindicate someone and bless them...don't interfere.

    This is something that is always a bad karma situation. If God blesses someone...it would be a good idea to go along with God on this one. Cursing or belittling someone that God has blessed is never a good idea.


    There is a story in the Talmud about a king riding by one day and seeing a very old man planting an apple tree. The king asked, "Why are you planting that tree? You are too old and will die before you see any fruit off of it."

    The Old Man replied, "God has blessed me with long life. I have seen three generations of my family and am looking forward to the fourth...it is for them that I am planting this tree."

    The King replied, "If any fruit comes off that tree and you are alive bring it to me...I want to see this."

    In two years sure enough the apple tree had born fruit and the man brought the king a basket of apples. The king was so impressed that he took the man's basket of apples, emptied it, and filled it with gold. The king's court was amazed and asked why did he give such an old man so much money. The king replied, "Since God has seen fit to bless him why shouldn't I?"

    And the king did right in doing so. "Do not speak ill of your rulers"


    PS. Gabriel's name means "Strength of God" and is always see proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.

    Give your all to God...you are always well rewarded....always. No one gives to God without some kind of reward. God has no debts...ever!

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    This is very helpful to me. thank you so much.

    ...Ivory

  10. #10
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    This is only an attempt to justify sin, because selfishness is the driving force behind every sin under the sun. All things whatsoever that Christ teaches and consists of is unselfishness only, with no slightest spot of selfishness in any thing that He consists of or teaches. The most important point is left out of this view to pray selfishly, namely, that if we are to belong to Christ indeed, we must first deny our own will, and submit to His. Then shall we pray as we ought to, when we deny ourselves. Christ tells us who goes to his house justified, the one that prays, "God be merciful to me a sinner"; but not the one who prays for self.
    And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
    Acts 28:24

  11. #11
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    Wow!!! Give us this day our daily bread isn't selfish? It is what you need, and it is what you ask for. I think it is ok to ask for what you want. Jesus made the example for asking for bread.

    If I have somehow made someone think that you should ask for an xbox for Christmas, then I appologize.

    I was kinda pumped that the sermon and MY prayer were all good. God also knows what we are thinking whether we pray for them or not. Pretending that we don't want things or praying for things that we think God wants us to pray for, instead of what you really want, is silly.

    I hope I didn't send a negative message to anyone. But if you don't get what my pastor was trying to say, or what I was trying to say, then I do appologize.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by quinn View Post
    Wow!!! Give us this day our daily bread isn't selfish? It is what you need, and it is what you ask for. I think it is ok to ask for what you want. Jesus made the example for asking for bread.

    If I have somehow made someone think that you should ask for an xbox for Christmas, then I appologize.

    I was kinda pumped that the sermon and MY prayer were all good. God also knows what we are thinking whether we pray for them or not. Pretending that we don't want things or praying for things that we think God wants us to pray for, instead of what you really want, is silly.

    I hope I didn't send a negative message to anyone. But if you don't get what my pastor was trying to say, or what I was trying to say, then I do appologize.
    What was the first word in that model prayer?

    It was "our" wasn't it?....as in a group activity. It wasn't give me my daily bread...It was OUR daily bread...and Jesus was the "Bread of Life".

    All that was a metaphor about asking for a lesson in teaching us something about God today...

    Food, clothing and shelter...God gives us the ability to earn these and chances to do just that. The Manna is out there but it does require some work to collect it all. What kind of parent would God be if He didn't take care of his Children?

  13. #13
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    Jeremiah's prayer wasn't selfish. He was very justified in praying it and he did so, knowing God's nature and His feelings about sin. He poured out his heart before God and got real with Him.

    Jeremiah asked God to deal with people's sins. That's what God is supposed to do. That is what God desires to do.

    Jeremiah was being mistreated as a result of preaching exactly what God told him to preach. God even told him "you're going to tell them what I say, and they're not going to listen to you because they don't care about Me but I want them to hear my word anyway because they need to hear it." Jeremiah knew what he was in for, and trusted God anyway. Which put him on a platform before God where he could be heard based on obedience. Jeremiah preached repentance. Jeremiah lived repentance. He had a hatred for sin. He tasted the results of evil on his own personhood and asked God for deliverance. How is that selfish? Are we supposed to be doormats? Are we supposed to not cry out about sin before our Maker? Are we supposed to pretend we're blind and deaf to the misdeeds of others and that God doesn't care? The very heart of intercession is an abhorrence of evil, knowing God's nature, and pleading cases before the Lord based on that, and ask God to intervene. Not for our own selfish wants, but because of who God is.

    Jeremiah wasn't asking for a new BMW because he didn't like his Chevy. He was just asking God to be God.

  14. #14
    I'm no expert, but I love God, and we must all check our motives.

    Are we praying for selfish reasons? How would (as you had mentioned jokingly) praying for an XBOX impact the Kingdom of God?

    First we must ask ourselves, what is the will of God?

    We know from scripture that God loves lost people and wants them to be saved for His Kingdom.

    1 Tim 2:4 and 1 Peter 3:9 say that God isn't willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

    We also know that the church is the body of Christ and the representatives (2 Cor 5:21) of Christ on earth, and therefore is the vehicle that God uses to deliver the Gospel to all people, all tribes, all tongues, male and female, Jew and Gentile.

    What else is the will of God? We see in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 it says "...this is the will of God for your life, even your sanctification..."

    Sanctification literally means "to be set apart". Whether we're talking about the saved or unsaved, we must ask the Lord to set them (or us) apart so that He may work in their lives.

    Without sanctification we can't be saved, and vice versa. So sanctification is the will of God. So since we know that the lost being saved is God's will, and sanctification is God's will, we therefore can determine that if either of our prayers fall into one of these two camps, they are in line with God's will for our lives and the lives of others.

    If not, why would God bless that? He may - I'm not saying He wouldn't, but let's be honest here and remember that God isn't the Author of confusion.

    So when asking for a house, does God want us to have good things? Well, He blessed Solomon with many riches. But since the church is at the forefront now, and the Kingdom of God is among us, why are we asking for a big house? It could be because we want one, but perhaps a better reason would be to raise a godly family under a Christian household, or perhaps as the hands of Christ to house those who have no home.

    Would God bless us with a nice car? Well, I am thankful that He has done so for me. But through His grace I have made many opportunities to thank Him for it and use that vehicle to be the "hands and feet" of Christ (or more properly, wheels).

    It all depends on what our motive is. Will God be angry with us if we ask with a wrong motive? Of course not. But if we are listening, He will quietly ask us, "why do you ask for this?". And we will search our hearts, tell the Lord He is right and our motives will be changed. Jesus is graceful and wants us to have the good things in life - but remember that the Kingdom of God is at the forefront.

    Sanctification and Salvation - those are the two camps I have found in scripture that line up with the will of God. if anyone has more please post them!

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