I like just starting out in mid-conversation with you all. So here goes:). So…I was praying about a situation, what I thought the outcome should be. Telling God ALL about it. Lol. What I thought happened and what should happen next. yada yada…. But then I felt a whisper that I should ask and not assume. Sometimes I assume that I know all the details about a situation and my solution to said problem is also God’s solution. I’m a Christian, after all. Me and God are tight. Right? Wrong! The Bible puts it like this in James 4:2-3…
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James is writing to believers, not unbelievers and basically says you murder (What?! I ain’t ever murdered no one! Well, in the Bible—murder can also be slander—murdering someone’s reputation), crave what belongs to someone else, fight and war. (This sounds like American Gladiator not the Church of the Redeemed.) You do all this YET you don’t have because you don’t ask. If you do ask, you don’t get what you want because you ask with gross motives. James is a shin-kicking, ouchy book, but so good.
That’s the Jenny version of the beautifully written King James. The word amiss is the King James translation for the Greek word, kakōs, which means miserable, to be ill, diseased, improperly, wrongly. It’s primarily used in the Gospels to describe the people that were brought to Jesus to be healed.
Matthew 4:24b… and they brought to Him all sick (kakōs) people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
But here in James, it says we’re asking wrong, improper, or diseased prayers. I hope your eyes just got big like mine did when I first read that. No wonder some of our prayers don’t get answered! He’s a good Father and gives good gifts, not ones that will harm us or others. So you might be asking what does a sick prayer sound like? Well, let’s look back at the context. Right after amiss it says… that you may spend it on your pleasures. Sick prayers look selfish or self-seeking. Me, myself, and I. “Help MY ministry.” “Don’t let me look stupid.” “Make them help me.” “Take away this trial.” These are just a few tombstones of my now-deceased, diseased prayers (ha-ha, I’m funny. That one’s for you, Scott. lol). Now, I absolutely think we should pray for ourselves. You see that all the time in scripture. Oh how I love the psalms! They’re so real, and raw. There are different kinds of psalms; hymns, thanksgiving, messianic, wisdom and complaint. Almost one-third of the psalms are called psalms of lament, or complaint. But one thing you’ll notice if you read them closely is they end better than they started. David may be complaining about his enemies—“Get them, God”, but often he shifts his focus from his enemies or situation to God.
We see this example with Jesus in Gethsemane. He prays three times for the cup to be taken away BUT nevertheless not My will, Yours be done. That’s THE ingredient to a healthy prayer life—“Not my will, but Yours, Oh God!” What would Jesus’ prayer look like if it were sick? “Take away the cross. Don’t make Me do this.” He did pray if there’s any other way, but He followed it up with a nevertheless… Just like our example Jesus, we need to be honest and talk to Him in a real conversation, not hiding our hearts. But the ending line to it all is “Whatever You want, I want. I trust You.” Not always easy to say, but it’s the healthiest. I’m so glad God didn’t answer some of my sick prayers. Aren’t you?
The cure for “diseased prayers” or sick anything is to bring them to Jesus. Looking back to our verse from Matthew—and they brought to Him all sick people (prayers)… and He healed them. I’m praying that my sick prayers will be healed. And for the Bride to say Amen to whatever Heaven’s prayer is. Hebrew 7:25 says that Jesus always lives to make intercession for us. He’s praying for us! How exciting is that?! I love prayer lines, but we have the Perfect Prayer Partner in Heaven, so let’s petition like never before! His Kingdom come! His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!