Selfish Prayers

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Dr. Stephen Phinney


Victorious Prayers


Victory in Christ is almost always directly connected with the power of prayer. Those who don't find the spiritual secret of prayer find themselves "fainting" regularly – almost like a compulsory habit. Jesus gave a parable in Luke to teach us the importance of prayer.


Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart… (Luke 18:1)

Did this passage create a little conviction?


It does for me! First, the phrase "at all times" hits me between eyes. Secondly, the phrase "not to lose heart" seems impossible at times, and honestly, it IS impossible. In my older age, I have come to realize that NOTHING can be done without the indwelling faith of Jesus Christ – not even praying.


The connection between prayer and not quitting or losing heart is obvious. To faint is to quit and give up the effort required to know the Father AND His will truly. Anytime we come before the Lord in prayer for selfish reasons, count on this; you will leave your time in prayer with a faint heart.


Let's face it; prayer is the door to fellowship with God. Anyone who does NOT pray is unable to know God. We can study His Word and practice His attributes, but we will NOT truly know His heart unless we come before His throne boldly with a humbled heart. This is why we often found Jesus going off to spend time with His Father. We should follow a like-minded example.


"My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

To pray is to soak in the presence and person of the Lord. It is to focus first upon His being within us. This way, we will be identified with His Life and purpose from the inside out. We often tend to come hastily into prayer with our desires and start ordering God around as if He is the servant and we are God. The Word tells us to let our request be known to God but not manipulate God into fulfilling our request or somehow tempt God to be obligated to fulfill such hasty prayers. The key to letting our requests be known to God is knowing the Giver; the requests we bring according to His Divine and Holy will are the requests He will fulfill.



Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven, and you are on the earth; therefore, let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)


I will say that many, if not most, of the requests that the Body of Christ brings before the throne are hasty and impulsive in thought and deed. Worse yet, they seem to be ordering God to fulfill their every want. We must be careful about the types of things we supplicate before Him. Have you ever been in a prayer meeting, and certain individuals go on and on about things that don't seem to matter? These are the hasty and thoughtless prayers that Ecclesiastes is talking about. I enjoy being in prayer gatherings where the individuals are careful about what they pray and how they appeal to the Father in Heaven. These individuals have an awe and reverence for the Lord by abstaining from coming before the Lord in a casual or presumptuous way. Keep in mind that our perfect acceptance in Christ places us in a relationship to the Father that makes our praying as welcome to Him as was that of Jesus Himself – as long as the Spirit is doing the "groaning" through us as vessels of Christ.


The more selfish our culture becomes, the more selfishly we pray.


"In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 'Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.'" (John 16:23-24)

How is it then that Jesus tells us to ask freely of the Father for all things in His name, and we will receive it? The answer is in knowing the heart of the Father before we make requests. If we do not handle our prayers with such reverence in knowing Him, we will default into doctrines of demons such as the "name it and claim it" mentality – prosperity doctrines.


The Key Phrase Is 'In His Name."


Today, believers tend to tact "In Jesus's Name" on the closing of their prayers no matter how selfish the request is. Worse yet, they think they will get an answer that honors their request by adding this salutation. Fact, rote prayers are sin, and the Scriptures warn us of this.


Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote…" (Isaiah 29:13)


Two important parts contributing to victory in prayer are faith and obedience. One, we pray by the faith of Christ within us, and secondly, we are obedient to pray only the things He puts upon our hearts, which comes by relationships with Christ from within. God makes no promises of answering the prayer of the disobedient person, and to do so would reduce the practice of prayer to a slot-machine act before a Holy Father – God forbid! It is God's greatest delight to answer the prayers of His people as long as the birthing place of a request is from the mind of Christ.

 

If anyone lacks wisdom about "how to pray" in this fashion, we must first pray for a pearl of Holy wisdom.


 

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the s