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Today's Expositor's Quote is from Charles Spurgeon's sermon on James 4:2-3, which reads in the KJV, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

The prayers of the church measure its prosperity. If we restrain prayer we restrain the blessing. Our true success as churches can only he had by asking it of the Lord. . . .

But some reply, “There are prayer-meetings, and we do ask for the blessing, and yet it comes not.” Is not the explanation to be found in the other part of the text, “Ye have not, because ye ask amiss”? When prayer-meetings become a mere form, when brethren stand up and waste the time with their long orations, instead of speaking to God in earnest and burning words, when there is no expectation of a blessing, when the prayer is cold and chill, then nothing will come of it. He who prays without fervency does not pray at all. We cannot commune with God, who is a consuming fire, if there is no fire in our prayers. . . .

Moreover, if our praying, however earnest and believing it may be, is a mere asking that our church may prosper because we want to glory in its prosperity . . . then our desires are nothing but lustings after all. Can it be that the children of God manifest the same emulations, jealousies, and ambitious as men of the world? Shall religious work be a matter of rivalry and contest? Ah, then, the prayers which seek success will have no acceptance at the mercy-seat. God will not hear us, but bid us begone, for he careth not for the Petitions of which self is the object. “Ye have not, because ye ask not, or because ye ask amiss.”

Charles Spurgeon, "Ask and Have," #1682 on James 4:2-3, preached October 1, 1882, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 28.

[Are we praying with fervency? Or are we not praying at all? Are we praying for our glory or God's glory? Lord, purify us by burning your fire within us! -- Coty]


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