I hadn’t thought of what motivates my prayer life until I heard a sermon by Dawna De Silva called Praying from Power. I listened, riveted to my chair, taking in every word as though I was hearing for the first time. Each word carried weight, clarity, and authority. It demanded my full attention and required I carefully think about each point.

What was the motive behind my prayers? Fear? Selfish ambition? Love?

I never thought of what motivates my prayer life. I always talk to God the way I talk to my best friend or trusted adviser. I take my cares to him and my tales of woe. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, I realize that prayer is a lot more about agreeing with God than it is about me.

We are in a war with two sides

None of us can avoid the reality of spiritual warfare. There are two sides: God’s or Satan’s. For many of us (myself included) we flip between these two sides depending on what we are experiencing or believing. Our feelings often override God’s truth while our hurts and pains are easy access points for Satan’s lies.

The motive behind your prayer either agrees with God or the enemy.

Think about it!

Fear and selfish-ambition aren’t at all characteristics of God’s nature. God is love and perfect love drives out all fear. Selfish ambition becomes self-righteousness and pride. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Love, on the other hand, is the essence of God’s nature, the core of who he is. When we pray from a heart that is motivated by love, we partner with God and faith rises. Our faith releases angel armies and catches our Father’s attention.

The more I analyze the motive behind each prayer, the easier it becomes for me to discern the heart behind my prayers. It gets quicker to recognize those prayers riddled with fear, anxiety and worry; or, the prayers puffed up with arrogance, selfishness, and my ideas of what’s best. Suddenly, I find myself forced to trust God more. I begin to renew my mind while Jesus simultaneously uncovers the lies and preconceived notions I believe about him and his plans for me.

 How do you identify what motivates your prayers?

For us to identify the motive behind our prayers, we need to understand what fear, ambition and love sound and look like.

A prayer motivated by fear will sound something like this: “Father please protect me as I go on this mission to Iraq. Don’t let the bombs come near me. I really need your protection. Help me come back home alive and safe.”

(I hope you’re having a good chuckle at this 🙂 ) Prayers motivated by fear sound fearful, anxious, and worried. They are often characterized with under currents of panic, overwhelm, and chaos. They lack peace and security. When we pray these types of prayers we have lost sight of our Father’s heart towards us.

Prayers from a place of ambition will sound a bit like this: “Father, thank you for your favor on me. Open their eyes to see how awesome my products are. I ask for your favor so I can get these sales in.” Such prayers are covered in a heart that wants to look good in front of the world. It’s about your agenda not God’s. These prayers are impatient, demanding, self-centered.

But, a prayer motivated by love is a prayer God can work with. It’s a prayer full of faith, truth, and purity. These prayers God can bless. They sound something like this: Father, I thank you for the husband you gave me. I thank you for your hand upon him, to give him favor and guidance. Thank you that as he goes about his day, today, he would know your presence with Him. I thank you, Lord, that he would be so moved by your love it would overflow into the lives of those around him. I speak confidence and boldness into him to obey your voice leading him in every decision he has to make, today. Thank you for the testimonies he will bring when he comes home, testimonies of your goodness, provision, and love.”

Can you hear the difference?

Prayers from love shift the atmospheres in our homes, cities, marriages, families, and communities. They see what God is doing and call it into place. We need to pray the character, heart and promises of God from a heart of love. This gives us the supernatural ability to see what God sees, do what he is doing, and speak what he is saying. It’s a heart submitted and surrendered to God.

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