God really wants us to have things—many things. But He wants us to have only those things that are good for us.
Sometimes we will desire something, and it really does seems to be a good thing; but then later, after we have prayed about it and sought God’s Word about it, He shows us that He isn’t pleased with what we desire.
Whatever we pray for we should ask ourselves these two questions:
1. Are these things going to bring me closer to the Lord or further away?
2. Will these things I desire help me to be a friend of the world, or a friend of God (James 4:3-4)?
There are many good things that God wants us to have, but if we don’t ask for them we will not receive them (James 4:2). And when we do ask, perhaps we don’t ask correctly—with the right motives (v. 3).
It may be that when we do ask for things we don’t really believe that God will give them to us, so that’s why we aren’t persistent in our asking. In other words, we may treat prayer as sort of a religious duty, or a ritualistic thing—something that we just do but we don’t really expect an answer.
My friend, God is real and personal. He is your Father. How do you ask your earthly father for things? You ask and keep asking until you get it, don’t you? And you ask that way because you know that sooner or later He will give it to you, because you know He loves you. Will not God who loves you far more give to you as much?
Sometimes, instead of believing and asking God for the things we want, we sit and worry, and we lust and envy and fight and even wage war over those things (Ja. 4:2). But if you want certain things, and if you know you need them, why not just ask God for them. He will give them to you as a gift. Everything you desire in life, if it pleases God for you to have it, He will give it to you if you just ask.
Do you need a job? Then ask. Yes, make your rounds to employment agencies and apply at various places, but you must also ask God. He will give you the job you really need, in quick time.
Are you worried about your friend who is lost? Then ask God for his or her soul. Who else will save your friend?
In all the things we desire but aren’t receiving, take these words to heart: “You do not have because you do not ask” (Ja. 4:2). Prayer is indeed necessary for obtaining things.