Friday, February 29, 2008




“When you ask [God], you do not receive, because you

ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you

get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3, NIV).


An overcast sky made the country night intensely dark

and a light drizzle made the freeway dangerously slick.

On my way home that night, as I passed a semi-trailer

and pulled in front of it, my car struck a slippery patch

of roadway and went slithering snake-like down the

road out of control. Abruptly my car swung around

and began careening down the road backwards with

the semi-trailer barreling down on top of me!


In terror I prayed, “God, help!”


With only moments to spare, my car suddenly flipped

sideways out of the path of the oncoming semi! But it

kept skidding sideways off the highway and down an

embankment. Certain my car would now overturn, in

terror, I prayed again, “Help God!”


Amazingly, my car didn’t overturn. But neither did it stop.

It swung around and then went lurching forward bouncing

through a field. “Oh no,” I thought. “now I’ll end up

smashing into a tree and be killed.” “Help God!” I

prayed again.


Eventually my car stopped in front of some bushes.

Miraculously, I missed every post by the roadside and

every tree. I backed up a few feet, turned around and

drove away without a single bruise to myself or a

scratch on my car. Very “shook up”, I might add!


Was my safety a coincidence or does God answer

prayer and help us when we call of him?


In my experience, I have found that God answers some

prayers very quickly; others quite slowly. And some

don’t seem to get answered at all.


Effective prayer is not a lucky charm to gain special

favors. Neither is it a pain-killer like a giant aspirin:

“Take God three times a day and you won’t feel any

pain!” as John Powell put it.


Prayer is effective. The key for getting prayer answered

is learning to pray the right prayer with the right motive.

As the Bible says, “When you ask [God], you do not

receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you

may spend what you get on your pleasures.”


How, then, do we pray the right prayer? See tomorrow’s

Daily Encounter for an answer to this question.


Suggested prayer, “Dear God, thank you that you

encourage us to pray without ceasing and that you do

answer genuine prayers. Please help me always to pray

the right prayer with the right motive, and a sincere and

thankful heart. Gratefully in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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