Many people look at prayer as basically just a way of getting what they want. They think of God sometimes as a spiritual wishing well.
1 John 5:14 reminds us, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” We so easily seem to forget that the Christian life is ALL about God and HIS will for our lives. And when we ask for things that are not according to God’s will, most often – we will not get what we’ve asked for. “And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
Remember Jesus’ prayer before the cross, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) NOT MY WILL – YOURS! And if we are to follow Him, and His example, here we have a very clear example of how we ought to pray!
I like what the Bible teacher, A. W. Pink (1886 – 1952) wrote about prayer: “The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonouring and degrading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No, prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth best to HIM.”
Prayer is a critical part of the Christian life, it is how we talk with God. However, it is where we draw closer to HIM and HIS will not where we get everything WE want!