Sometimes, I wonder if God ever gets irritated with our words. Our words, our prayers, are just empty sometimes. Sometimes I look at my own life and think I shouldn’t even pray. When I reflect on what I have been saying, I realize that my words are empty — it’s all about me, my and mine.
There are some words that God wants us to say that really delight His heart. James will tell us what those words are — words that delight the heart of God.
- When We Pray Correctly
- When We Confess Courageously
- When We Ask Humbly
Learn to pray correctly. God is not saying, “Do not pray.” He is saying, “Do you know what delights My heart? It’s when you learn to pray correctly.”
“Where do all the fights and quarrels come from? They come from your desires for pleasure … You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things … so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because … when you ask … your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures” (James 4:1-3).
Usually we pray incorrectly. We complain, we grumble, we are selfish, we are angry, we are excessive. When we pray, often it is just about getting rid of the penalties of our sins. We call that prayer when it’s not that at all.
The first step is learning how to listen. All of us Christians learn how to talk, but the Lord is saying, “Why don’t you first learn how to listen?” Check your motives all along the way. One of the things we need to do all the time is scrub our hearts. Stay close to God and stay clear-headed.
“All the ways of man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives” (Prov. 16:2).
When motives are off, do you think He hears my prayers? No, it doesn’t work. I must constantly check my motives and scrub my heart. God says that He wants us to keep a clean heart. It doesn’t mean that we will never get dirty; it means that when we do, we clean it up right away.
“… the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:15-16).
It delights God to hear the words of His children confessing. The greatest weapon you have against the devil is repentance. When we repent, His power then intercedes for us. You come under His power, His jurisdiction when you repent. When we repent, it’s the Lord against the devil!
You cannot get to the point of asking people humbly for help or for prayer unless there has been courage inside to confess. If we confess courageously, we are free to do the next step — to ask humbly.
Here is the barometer of my health — my spiritual health. Am I able to humbly ask for help when I need help, advice or counsel?
“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him” (James 5:14-15).
To ask for help is a barometer of my spiritual health. Now, I am not saying to ask people because you are selfish and you want this or you just want that. No, but when you need help, you should ask.
When God hears us praying correctly, confessing courageously and asking humbly, as James says, it delights Him to the point that He says that the righteous man’s prayers will accomplish much. This is the kind of prayer God wants to hear, not just excessive words. This kind of prayer changes the world and changes lives.