Praying With Proper Motives By Theodore Epp
Because of Jacob's imperfect faith, he offered a prayer of panic and then resorted to his carnal planning.
In fact, Jacob began to plan even before he prayed. He took time out of his planning to pray, then immediately returned to his own schemes. He didn't seem to really trust God but only asked God to sanctify his plans.
As Jacob prayed, he said, "Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children" (Gen. 32:11).
What was the motive for Jacob's petition? At first, it might seem selfish, but verse 12 indicates that Jacob was seeking the glory of God.
Jacob was claiming God's promises when he said, "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude" (v. 12).
We also need to check our motives when we are praying for the salvation of our loved ones. Are we praying for them only because they are loved ones, or are we truly concerned about the glory of God?
Our chief concern should always be the glory of God. Whatever we do, we should "do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
Jacob still had fear, but it was an unnecessary fear. God had promised to bring him back to the land and to make his descendants as the sand of the sea.
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3, NASB).