NOVEMBER 11, James 4:3

“Mom!” called Anna. “I’m making party invitations on the computer, and something’s wrong!” Mom came and looked over her shoulder. “See?” Anna pointed to two words at the top of the screen. “It says, ‘Invalid request’. What does that mean?”

“It means you pressed a key that asked the computer to do something it’s not programmed to do,” explained Mom. “Here, I’ll get you going again.” Mom helped Anna, and soon the invitations to her party were nicely printed.

Anna could hardly wait for the day of the party. She wanted everything to be perfect. When she prayed, she even asked God to make her party the best one ever! But it wasn’t. It stormed on the day of the party. Some of the kids were sick and couldn’t come (Anna’s best friend was one of them). Her friend Patty spilled drinks on the carpet and went home in tears!

“What a flop!” moaned Anna when the last guest left. “All year I’d wanted a wonderful party, better than the one Gina had. I even prayed it would be!”

Mom stopped picking up plates and looked at her daughter in surprise. “You prayed that your party would be better than Gina’s?” she repeated. “Well,” Anna looked a little embarrassed. “It’s just that I’m tired of hearing the girls talk about how wonderful that party was.” Mom looked thoughtful. “Anna,” she said after a moment, “do you remember the ‘invalid request’ you made on the computer when you were getting the invitations ready? When you made that request, you didn’t get what you asked for. Now, I certainly don’t mean to insult God by comparing Him to a computer, but I’m afraid your prayer was an invalid request, too.”

Anna sighed. “You mean I shouldn’t have prayed for a good party?” “It was okay to pray for a good party,” Mom said, “but I’m afraid you were asking for the wrong reasons. God’s Word says that when we pray with wrong motives – for our own selfish reasons – we probably won’t get what we ask for.”

“Well… I know you’re right,” murmured Anna with a sigh. “I’ll try to keep from making an ‘invalid request’ to God again.”

Thought: Will the things you pray for bring blessings to others and honour to God? Or do you pray just because you want what you want when you want it?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to pray aright. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.