Some people see God as a supernatural change-agent who answers their every whim, a kind of divine genie who stands before them to grant their every wish.

Take the well-meaning fan at a basketball game who said, “Our team’s behind. Pray!” Or the executive who left 30 minutes late for an important sales presentation and asked her colleagues to pray that she would get there on time.

People who are preoccupied with such self-centered requests have a very shallow view of God and His redemptive purpose in the world. They see Him as One who exists to provide for their wants and needs, alleviate all their suffering, and make their lives as pleasant as possible. They may get that kind of picture of God from secular novels but not from the Bible.

All attempts to manipulate a sovereign God into serving our own selfish purposes insult Him. And James related selfish praying to “friendship with the world,” which he said is “enmity with God” (Jas. 4:3-4).

For the next few days, let’s analyze our prayers. If they are usually for our own convenience, comfort, or pleasure, it’s time to change our praying.