Prayer is a privilege of a real relationship with God through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Prayer is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare. But, unfortunately we can unintentionally or intentionally misuse prayer.
“I’m praying for you.” We need to very careful how, and why we say it. How many times have you said it without sincerity or out of malice as a retaliation in an argument? How many times have you heard it said out of arrogance rather than concern?
God lets us know through James that prayers is ineffective and unheard when we pray with the wrong motives in our hearts…
James 4:3 (NKJV)
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Be careful when we pray for others, about others and with others that we are praying for God’s will to be accomplished in their lives and not our own.
Make sure we aren’t trying to get them to do what we think that should or want them to do. Think or act as we want them to but to submit to God’s will for their lives.
Be careful how you pray for your family members, coworkers, church members, rivals and enemies.
For example, it’s easy to be mistreated at work and pray to God out of your frustration or anger, rather than out of love. It’s easy for us to ask God to give people what we feel they deserve. SO YOU THINK THEY GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED…REALLY???
It’s easy to pray for God to ‘change’ your spouse, child, friend, rival or whomever to suit how you would like for them to be. I’m not talking about when we want them to be saved or conform to God’s will, but when we selfishly want to control how they are, who they are, what they do, who they see, etc. through prayer.
In short…when we use prayer as a weapon of personal warfare rather than spiritual warfare.
Yes, we can misuse prayer if we aren’t careful. I have done it. Have you?
1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]