I was looking for a cord for a device I had not used in a while. And I knew exactly where to look. My wife keeps a box where she dumps gadget stuff that me and the kids inevitably lose.
I rummaged through the box, never finding what I was looking for. But I did find several digital cameras. I pulled each one out of the box, remembering purchasing or using them for special events.
After I repacked the box, I wondered why my family did not use these cameras any longer. It was not because there were no more moments worth capturing. Then it dawned on me. The answer was in my back pocket: my cell phone.
The digital camera is just one of many gadgets smart phones have killed. Most likely, the phone in my pocket took better resolution pictures than any of the cameras in that box, and having my phone with me at all times means I have my camera with me at all times.
Smart phone cameras are a great convenience, which produced an unexpected phenomenon: the selfie. It even became the 2013 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year. The “selfie” has even produced an industry around it, with software applications, printers, and selfie-sticks offered to help make the most of selfies.
Personal cameras were designed to allow us to capture special sites, events, and persons in our lives. But the rear-facing camera has become more important than the front-facing one. Who knew that for most people the most special thing they can capture in a picture is themselves?
Beware, lest the “selfie” mindset infiltrate your prayer life.
James wisely instructs, “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” (James 4:2).
The ultimate reason why prayers are not answered is because prayers are not offered. Your holy desires will be fulfilled and the deeds prompted by your faith will not come to pass unless you take them to God in prayer. It happens after prayer!
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But there is another factor to un-answered prayer to consider. You can ask God for it and not receive if your motives are wrong. James adds, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3). God does not answer prayers that are motivated by selfish ambition, misplaced priorities, or worldly passions.
It is not wrong to bring your personal needs and wants to God in prayer. It is our privilege in Christ to come with confidence to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus commands his disciples to ask, seek, and knock in believing prayer. But remember that the priority of prayer is God and his glory, not you and your desires. As we make our requests known to the Lord, we are to also pray for the good of others and for the glory of God.
God does not answer selfie prayers!