New American Standard Bible
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
King James Bible
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Darby Bible Translation
Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask evilly, that ye may consume it in your pleasures.
World English Bible
You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.
Young's Literal Translation
ye ask, and ye receive not, because evilly ye ask, that in your pleasures ye may spend it.
James 4:3 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Ye ask, and receive not - That is, some of you ask, or you ask on some occasions. Though seeking in general what you desire by strife, and without regard to the rights of others, yet you sometimes pray. It is not uncommon for men who go to war to pray, or to procure the services of a chaplain to pray for them. It sometimes happens that the covetous and the quarrelsome; that those who live to wrong others, and who are fond of litigation, pray. Such men may be professors of religion. They keep up a form of worship in their families. They pray for success in their worldly engagements, though those engagements are all based on covetousness. Instead of seeking property that they may glorify God, and do good; that they may relieve the poor and distressed; that they may be the patrons of learning, philanthropy, and religion, they do it that they may live in splendor, and be able to pamper their lusts. It is not indeed very common that persons with such ends and aims of life pray, but they sometimes do it; for, alas! there are many professors of religion who have no higher aims than these, and not a few such professors feel that consistency demands that they should observe some form of prayer. If such persons do not receive what they ask for, if they are not prospered in their plans, they should not set it down as evidence that God does not hear prayer, but as evidence that their prayers are offered for improper objects, or with improper motives.
Because ye ask amiss - Ye do it with a view to self-indulgence and carnal gratification.
That you may consume it upon your lusts - Margin, "pleasures." This is the same word which is used in James 4:1, and rendered lusts. The reference is to sensual gratifications, and the word would include all that comes under the name of sensual pleasure, or carnal appetite. It was not that they might have a decent and comfortable living, which would not be improper to desire, but that they might have the means of luxurious dress and living; perhaps the means of gross sensual gratifications. Prayers offered that we may have the means of sensuality and voluptuousness, we have no reason to suppose God will answer, for he has not promised to hear such prayers; and it becomes every one who prays for worldly prosperity, and for success in business, to examine his motives with the closest scrutiny. Nowhere is deception more likely to creep in than into such prayers; nowhere are we more likely to be mistaken in regard to our real motives, than when we go before God and ask for success in our worldly employments.
LibraryDecember 19. "God Giveth Grace unto the Humble" (James iv. 6).
"God giveth grace unto the humble" (James iv. 6). One of the marks of highest worth is deep lowliness. The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
God's Will About the Future
Whether Every Sin Includes an Action?
Whether the Reason Can be Overcome by a Passion, against Its Knowledge?
1 Kings 3:11
God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice,
If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
"Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
1 John 3:22
and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 5:14
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
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