When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. (James 4:3)

Substitute teaching was not a job I relished. You remember middle school substitutes. I knew another difficult day lay ahead as I opened my journal that morning, so I prayed for a quiet, peaceful day.

Why did I pray this? I’d like to tell you that my sole motivation was to honor God in this public school classroom so that, if possible, I could share a bit of my faith at some point. That would sound good, wouldn’t it? Yes, that was part of my reason for praying, but let’s be honest. A bigger part of my prayer was self-centered. I wanted a comfortable, easy day, and God knew this (1 Sam. 16:7).

We all do it. We convince ourselves and others that our desires are noble. We couch our requests in altruism so we sound holy when, in reality, our chief interests are our own comfort and convenience. Many times, there is nothing wrong with the things for which we ask, from a quiet day at work to a baby for a young wife or the healing of a relative. Upon closer examination, however, we often find that our focus is our comfort more than God’s glory.

From King David (Ps. 37:4) to King Jesus (John 14:13–14), God’s glory reigns as His primary motivation for answering prayers. As our prayers become more glory-centered, His answers will become clearer.

Notice which of your prayer requests today are motivated by God’s glory.

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word and how it impacts our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives and writes in East Tennessee.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.