Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss—Jas. 4: 3.
Let us learn to pray aright, as well as to labor and to hope aright; and in order to do so let us be swift to hear, slow to speak, swift to hearken to the Word of the Lord and to the lessons which He has already given us, and to His method of instructing us and guiding us and blessing us. Let us be slow to tell Him what our preferences are; indeed let us seek to attain that development of Christian character which will permit us always not to seek our own wills, but the will and way of our Father in heaven.
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Prayer offered in harmony with the Scriptural conditions is always answered, even if the answer may be long delayed. The conditions are that we abide in Christ and His Word abide in us. Many prayers are offered in disregard of these conditions. Such praying is asking amiss, and therefore is unanswered. It is not in harmony with the Divine will to answer such petitions; nor is it to the real interests of the petitioner to receive answers to them. Before requesting anything of the Lord we are to consider whether the petition is in harmony with our consecration and with the controllership of the Word over our desires and conduct.
Parallel passages: Psa. 27: 8; 66: 18; 84: 11; Prov. 1: 28-30; 8: 17; Isa. 59: 2; Heb. 4: 16; 11: 6; John 14: 13, 14; 15: 7; 16: 23, 24; Jas. 1: 5, 6; 5: 16, 18; Gen. 32: 26; 1John 5: 14, 15; Luke 18: 1; Jer. 11: 11; 14: 12; 15: 1; 29: 13; Ezek. 8: 18; Mic. 3: 4; Rom. 8: 26, 27; Matt. 7: 7-11.
Questions: Have I prayed aright or amiss this week? Why? With what results?
I CANNOT think but God must know
About the thing I long for so;
I know He is so good, so kind,
I cannot think but He will find
Some way to help, some way to show
Me to the thing I long for so!
I stretch my hand: it lies so near.
It looks so sweet, it looks so dear!
"Dear Lord," I pray, "oh, let me know
If it is wrong to want it so!"
He only smiles; He does not speak;
My heart grows weaker and more weak
With looking at the thing so dear,
Which lies so far and yet so near.
"Now, Lord, I leave at Thy dear feet
This thing which looks so near, so sweet;
I will not seek, I will not long;
I almost fear I have been wrong.
I'll go and work the harder, Lord,
And wait till by some loud, clear word
Thou calllest me to Thy loved feet
To take this thing so dear, so sweet!"
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