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Does God answer selfish prayers?


Clarify Share Report Asked September 24 2013 Jack Bubba Mcabee Supporter

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Open-uri20130622-23898-8dsex Kelli Hamann Supporter Pastor's Wife, Mother, Teacher, Writer, Cellist
This is one of those questions that is not easily answered in a cut-and-dry fashion. I'll do my best here and try to not get too lengthy or complicated, but to do the word of God justice.

First of all, yes--and no. In 1 Samuel 8, the Israelites demanded a king (they asked via Samuel, who was God's spokesperson for them at the time). God didn't necessarily want to grant this request to them and warned them of His misgivings, but He granted their request all the same:

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing was [a]displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly [b]warn them and tell them of the [c]procedure of the king who will reign over them.”

Sometimes--not always, but sometimes--God grants us what we want in spite of the fact that it might not be the best choice for us. We must remember that His ultimate plans trump all, and even when we err, He can use our mistakes and misguided choices for His purposes. Romans 8:28 says,

"28 And we know that [k]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

That being said, He will not grant us what we ask for if we ask for things that conflict with His laws. He can not contradict Himself, so He will not break His own laws in order to grant our requests, nor will He help us in any way to do things that contradict His laws.

James 4 says,

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace.

One more idea that I think needs to be clarified when it comes to making requests of God is what we consider to be "selfish." It is not selfish to ask for what you need; it is not selfish to ask for what you desire, as long as what you desire is not something that interferes in any way with your walk with God or His preeminence as your first love. Matthew 7 says,

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

We also need to keep this passage from Matthew 6 in mind:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

From these two passages, we can see that we need to balance two truths in tension: 1) God wants us to ask for what we need and to trust Him for His provision, and 2) When we seek Him first, He grants us all of the things that we need. Psalm 37:4 says,

4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

When our desire is FIRST for Him, it opens the door to so much more because our priorities are right. When I pray, I find it helpful to use the prayer guide that Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 6 to help me stay on course:

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

We thank Him, which turns our focus away from ourselves and onto the things that are important to God
We pray for His kingdom to come and for His will to be done in our lives and in the lives of other people and situations that are on our heart
We ask for provision
We ask for forgiveness and commit to forgive others
We ask for God's covering and protection from the evil one and for God's power and grace to resist our own tendency to give in to the flesh

I hope this helps.

September 25 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

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Stringio EL Mohel Castorena EL Mohel
God, may his name be blessed forever, has his prerogative and right to answer, Yes - No - Wait. For he answers all who call on him in prayer.
James 4:3 
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 

Proverbs 21:13 
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. 

Proverbs 28:9
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

September 24 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
The "self" is identical with the soul. The soul is the seat of the mind, will and emotions. The soulish nature is a product of the brain. It is identical to the sinful nature. The ONLY prayer that would originate from the self would be the prayer for salvation. Otherwise, all prayer for we Christians originates in the Spiritual Nature, our fully functioning SPIRITUAL relationship with and through the Trinity. The Spiritual Nature, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is incapable of asking a "selfish" prayer. The Spiritual Nature is in contact with God through the Holy Spirit 24/7/365, unless.......... we get in the way with our own desire to do things our way, as in praying a selfish prayer.

September 24 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

2013_09_15_08_57_49_546 Dorcas Sitali Miss Dorcas sitali
Luke 18: 9 - 14 two men went to pray one a pharisee, the other a tax collector the bible says that the pharisee prayed to himself while the other person prayed to God and would hardly look to heaven but  after he prayed the bible says he went home justified telling us that his rather the pharisee's prayer was answered we learn humility as well as  a certain element of not being selfish in our prayer. James 4:1 - 4 going on to  teach  on prayer were james writes that "you ask and do not receive because you ask amiss because you ask only to spend on your lustful or paraphasing selfish desires.... from this chapter i would safely say that God does not answer selfish prayers and this mostly is for our own good because somethings we ask for can be the very things that make us fall.

September 25 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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