“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3
Make note, this post has nothing to do with prosperity theology. I most certainly don’t believe in the name it and claim it philosophy. However, James (Jesus’ half-brother) is simple saying there is a better way to ask God for the things you desire. Instead of coveting, quarrelling, fighting, and even killing, Christians need to simply ask God for what they want. One primary reason they do not have what they want is that they have not asked and the second reason is when they do ask it’s out of selfish gain.
Of course, James’ statement that “you have not because you ask not” does not guarantee that we will get everything we ask for. A father might tell his child not to steal anything from the tool shed but to simply ask if he wants something. But, if the 10-year-old asks for the chain saw, the father, for safety reasons, might not give it to him. Likewise, when we ask God for something, He reserves the sovereign right to do what is best for us.
Simply put, if there is something you want, open your mouth and ask God for it. More often, it’s not that God isn’t listening; “you have not because you ask not.” Again, there is no guarantee that you will get it, but it is the best possible chance you have, and prayer will always keep you within God’s will. When you have submitted your will to His, you will be happy with what He gives you, whether or not you get what you originally asked for.