YE ASK AMISS
T. PIERCE BROWN
James gives two reasons why we may not get what we need in this life. He says, “Ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that he may spend it in your pleasures” (James 4:2-3). Often we do not ask for the things we need, for what we need and what we want are two different things. We fail to get the things we need because, not realizing what they are, we do not ask for them.
Another reason James gives for not getting what we need is that we ask amiss. As long as we conceive of prayer as a sort of exercise in pushing a button to call a Cosmic BellBoy to do our bidding, we are asking amiss, regardless of the thing for which we ask. Rather, prayer should be a means of so attuning our souls to God and His will that it is a time when He molds our lives so that His will becomes ours. It is not merely a matter of tacking on some words, “Thy will, not mine be done” but a matter of so adjusting our lives and thinking that His will actually becomes ours. As Jesus put it, “I do always the things that are pleasing to Him.” Our prayer, then, is primarily a matter of opening our hearts to God in such a fashion that we may have the wisdom and insight into what His will is in that particular situation, and praying that we may be used to accomplish that will.
Surely each of can see the difference in the attitude of one who says, “God, this is what I want, and I hope you will see fit to give it to me” and “God, this is what I think you want. If it is I hope you will allow me to work with you to accomplish it.”