James 4:1-7

            “Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God. Or when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures.  So, you are not loyal to God! You should know that loving the world is the same as hating God. Anyone who wants to be a friend of the world becomes God’s enemy. Do you think the Scripture means nothing that says, ‘The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for himself alone’? But God gives us even more grace, as the Scripture says,
‘God is against the proud,
but he gives grace to the humble.’ Proverbs 3:34
So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you” (NCV).
            There is a lot that can be unpacked here in these practical verses filled with dense meaning for our lives.  But a simple observation will suffice for today:  Prayer to God requires humility.
            The person who is captain of his own soul, moves and shakes the circumstances around him, controls and manipulates people, and who throws tantrums and verbally decapitates others to get his way sees himself as the way to get what he wants.  God only comes into the picture if he cannot seem to take for himself what he so desires.  Prayer is the last ditch attempt to control God.  And God will have none of it.
            All things must begin with prayer, be sustained by prayer, and end with prayer.  If we ask anything in the name of Jesus, it will be heard by God and answered by him.  God is God, and I am not.  Therefore, I must come to him with this understanding, with the humility to recognize that I desperately need him for everything.  Take some extended time today and meditate on these verses, letting prayers arise to God as a result.  For in the weakness of our surrender we find the strength of life.


            Holy God, you cannot abide with the ways of this fallen world.  Help me to connect with you on your terms in your way so that my faith might be active and effective in all I do for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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