Can prayer cause things to happen that would not have happened if we didn't pray? It is possible that there will be things in this life that we won't have unless we ask it from God? Doesn't God's will stand alone without our prayers?
ESV - 2 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.
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This chapter is about praying for the things of God, (i.e to receive help and guidance) not of the world. 'you receive not because you ask not, You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts.' james 4:2-3. (When reading the whole chapter it explains this in more detail.) God doesn't give us material things, only our needs. He gives us strength and wisdom, understanding, love and peace in our hearts and help when we need it, if we love him! John 1, 2:16-17 If we pray it should be for the things of the heart. Like help to speak, or strength to overcome, or help for someone else. Food on the table but most of all for to have his spirit in our hearts' so we can see the need in others and show his love to others. James 1 5:10 The only things we should pray for materially are for the things we need to get by everyday, like food and a roof over our heads etc. And thank him for these things always! As they are blessings. Timothy 6, 7:10 God has nothing to do with wealth. As Jesus said, no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' (Mammon is wealth) Matthew 6:24 Worldly things mean nothing to God. Jesus came poor and as a servant. To show us that God needs us to stay humble and follow Jesus. Luke 22, 26-27
Yes, I think James means exactly what he says. When we are aware of a deficiency in our lives we have to ask God for whatever it is we need.. For example James 1:5 says, 'If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.' This implies that if we don't ask we won't get it. Not only that we have to 'ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.' (v 6-8) And even that's not enough! We have to ask with the right motives James 4:3, 'You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.'
It is true also that God gives great wealth to some people for His own reasons. When Job lost his family and all his wealth God restored Him with twice as much as He had. Many Godly men at the begining of the USA were given great wealth. But God also teaches with great wealth comes great responsibility. God does bless His children according to His plans even in material things. We are still to depend on everything from Him and hold our possesions loosly. God knows us well enough to judge how much wealth we can handle to where we would quit depending on Him. If we handle what we have been given rightly, He sometimes gives us more. He will not give us more than what will be good for us, and sometimes takes away for His own purpose and plan. When He takes away we are to open our hand and let Him have what He wants.
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