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This is one of those questions that is not easily answered in a cut-and-dry fashion. First of all, yes--and no. In 1 Samuel 8, the Israelites demanded a king via Samuel, who was God's spokesperson for them. God didn't necessarily want to grant this request, but He did so 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 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. Sometimes (not always) God grants us what we want even though it might not be the best choice for us. We must remember that His plans trump all. Even when we err, He can use our mistakes for His purposes. Romans 8:28 says, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. However, He will not grant us what we want if we ask for things that conflict with His laws. He can't contradict Himself, so He won't break His own laws in order to grant our requests. 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. One more idea that I think needs to be clarified is what we see as "selfish" prayers. It's not selfish to ask for what you need; it's not selfish to ask for what you desire, as long as your request doesn't interfere with your walk with God or His preeminence as your first love. Matthew 7:7-11 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!" Matthew 6:25-33 is also helpful: “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? 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?... And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 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? So do not worry...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. From these two passages, we see two important things: 1) God wants us to ask and trust Him for provision; 2) When we seek Him first, He grants us the things we need. 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 6:9-13 to help me stay on course: This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. I hope this helps. kellihamann.com
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.
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.
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.
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