Tag Archives: selfish

Thou shalt have no other gods before me

Thou shalt have no other gods before me

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September 20, 2013 · 17:49

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

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April 12, 2013 · 06:54


Jesus said ‘Whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven’  (Matthew 18, verse 19)

When Jesus talks about prayer in this way, he tells us two very important things: first, that prayer must never be selfish.

We are not meant to pray for our needs,  thinking of nothing and no one but ourselves; we are meant to pray as members of a fellowship, remembering that life and the world are not arranged for us as individuals, but for the fellowship as a whole.

Prayer must never be selfish.

And now – two creaky ancient jokes…….

Two men found themselves side by side in church one day.  Both were praying.

The first man said: ‘Lord, please give me £50; that’s all I need to clear my debts; please, Lord, just £50’

The other man prayed ‘Lord, I’m in a real mess, I need £5000.  Please give me 5 grand’

The other man’s prayer was louder: ‘£50, Lord, that’s all I ask; please, Lord, give me £50’

‘£5000, Lord, please, £5000’ prayed the other man.

But, his prayers were being drowned out by the other guy: ‘£50, Lord, and I’ll be forever grateful.’

In desperation, the man wanting the £5000, went into his wallet, took out two twenties and a ten, handed them to the other fellow, and said ‘Right, get lost’

He then started to pray again saying, ‘Now, Lord, concentrate on ME’

That’s a very selfish approach to prayer. And that, we are told, is not what prayer is about.

Also prayer is always answered.

Now, having said that, all of us will remember many times when apparently our prayers – however sincerely offered – were not answered.

Remember, though,  in prayer we receive very often not what we expect or desire, but the answer which God in his wisdom and his love knows to be best.

The second not so golden oldie story: 

A very religious man was once trapped in his house when the rains poured down and everything was flooded.

As the waters rose, he got to the first floor of his house. 

He began to pray to God to save him.

A short time later, a fire engine arrived; a ladder was extended to the first floor.

But the man refused the offer of help.

‘No’, he said, ‘I am putting my trust in God; he will save me’

The waters rose.  He climbed onto the roof, and prayed to God to save him.

Some time later, a rowing boat arrived on the scene.  The men in the boat asked him to jump into it to join them.

He refused; saying that God would save him.

He returned to his prayers, asking God to save him.

By this time he was clutching on to the chimney pot.

A helicopter arrived, and again he refused to get into it.  ‘God will save me’ he said.

Then the water rose a couple of feet or more, and he drowned.

In heaven, he protested to God ‘I prayed to you to save me from the flood, and yet I perished – why didn’t you save me?’

And God replied ‘ I sent you a fire-engine, a boat, and even a helicopter – what else did you expect me to do!’


Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the way we expect, but often they are answered – though in a way we do not always recognise!

When we pray unselfishly, God sends his answer – but the answer is always HIS answer – not necessarily ours.

Trust in God always.  He listens.  He acts.  And although we may not always get what we want, we so often get what God knows we need.

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