“You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss”, Jam 4:3.

It is commonly taken for granted that God answers prayer. But, the fact is that, if people would be honest with themselves before God, they would acknowledge there is something wrong in their practical lives when they look at those words Jesus said: “If you ask anything in My name, I will do…”, John 14:14.

When we “receive not”, one may never take it for granted that the wrong thing is being asked for. It is seldom the case. Sometimes it happens that God shows us clearly what His will is all about, and what we should be praying for to be heading there, and we find we are not able to reach unto it in any way whatsoever. God might be using that way to show us something, and that we are not entering His will because of something. Many give up for some reason, also, before motives are cleansed through difficulties and trials from every corner, along with contradictions against whatever God has said He would do. Many people easily forget that Jesus is “a sign which will be spoken against”. Giving up, sometimes is what one shouldn’t do, never. There is great glory in not giving up, and if we loose let it be because God has taken it from our reach and never because we stopped and ceased to pray along with it. We read “Do not cease to pray”, 1 Thes.5:17. It just means “do not give up”, but instead “Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones”, Jam 4:8.

There are things which glorify God. There are human things which, if done for God and through God, they exalt earth above heaven, if it were possible at all! Many Christians are afraid to near God concerning marriage, businesses of whatever kind, earthly things we set our hearts unto most easily, because they think and believe one’s marriage cannot be turned into an example for others to follow after God, a light which other married people will see as they would any city on a mountain top, or that we are not to become successful in business. All businessmen should notice that they are not bound and restricted to giving ten percent of their income to God and to His real work (and not to greedy preachers), since they can give it all and work in a God enterprise having God as their business’ real owner and disposer of all profits coming from it.   

Hannah wanted a child and could never get one, 1Sam.1. She asked God for it and promised to offer him unto God all his life long. And we know Samuel was given unto her right away and he became a real light unto Israel at that confused time when the “word of God was scarce and there was no open vision from God” at all anymore, 1Sam.3.1. God needed that man at that precise timing. Hannah wanted a child too. And, instead of giving up, she changed her motives concerning her wish and she not only got it granted, but also saved many people from disaster, even up to today, since her light still shines along with Samuel’s and we see it still. Mary had an expensive perfume at home which she may have bought with dirty money from prostitution. She changed her motives about it all and instead of giving it to the poor or to sell it and buy food for the Lord, or break it in the woods to destroy it, she offered it upon Him directly. What these two women did for the Lord with some greedy heart desire at first, is being preached everywhere the gospel is preached till today. Tell me, why should you not ask God to grant you a business, a marriage, a child which will serve as an example for people in the dark concerning those issues, people who can’t but have gifts to come and corrupt their hearts because they are unable to see light and another way out for their businesses and marriages at all, besides so-called personal happiness?

Mary could (and according to many minds even today, she should) just give up on a perfume which possessed her thoughts, motives, mind, guilt and was bought at the cost of adultery and many disrupted marriages, perhaps. But, she knew more than Spirit-filled Peter at that time. Peter needed a white blanket with a vision to show him that, “Whatever the Lord has cleansed, call thou not impure”. She just followed her changed heart and cleansed her motives and her sin on it – and the Lord rejoiced about it all. Her faith was great.

It is much easier to complain and give up on God and life than to give up on settled motives and ways we may have learned from youth, which got settled down to become stubborn and fully unmoveable, so natural that it became invisible to its own spirit's eyes, untouched and a matter for "no more discussion" through the years afterwards. It became a settled matter, a natural way of life. Nevertheless, there is greater glory unto God to use marriage for God’s sake, money for God’s assets in heaven above, than to live as a hidden, troubled-by-sin monk. I believe a killer who starts to share life out (like Paul), a robber who starts to share and give back all his goods (like Zacchaeus), a liar who says the truth unconditionally and promptly from a point on, a sex pervert who preaches the gospel to his former sexual partners and human-objects of desire and lust, grants greater glory to a living, saving God than someone who closes himself to what he saw as sin because it had been sin to him. To go back to the world and stay with heaven within, doing the precise opposite of sin, is what holiness is all about to any of us all. Such people indeed testify that God saves from sin for real. It is easy not to lust when not looking at the opposite sex – it is something else to be really holy, caring and loving with heaven’s love and do the right thing with a pure heart looking at the opposite sex. "And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is chasing after you", Gen.4:7.

Nevertheless, if one’s hand or eyes causes one to stumble still and does not allow us "to do well", one should rather cut off on the occasion, for it is not worth it to try to save the world and loose on our lives by it. Let honesty rule your whole being and behaviour all along then. Amen.

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José Mateus