This is today's devotion from Greg Laurie. I thought it was a good one. It's easy to ask for what we want, but God, being the Father that he is can see the bigger picture and knows what's best for us. We may pout and get upset with him, but when we mature and look back we see how good it was. We just need to remember that the next time we don't receive exactly what we ask for, and check our motives and see if it really is in line with His greater plan.
"And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls."
I sometimes hear people say, "I have been wrestling with God in prayer!" My first thought always is, "I hope you lost."
If you have been trying to bend God your way, then that is a problem. Prayer is not trying to move God your way; it is moving yourself His way.
In fact, I'm glad that God hasn't said yes to every prayer I have ever prayed. When I look back on some things I've prayed for, I realize that if the Lord would have allowed them, they could have destroyed me. They were not the right things or the right situations. So God graciously and lovingly said no.
In John 15:7, Jesus gave an incredible promise regarding answered prayer. He said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." From the original language, this verse could be translated, "If you maintain a living communion with Me, and My word is at home with you, I command you to ask at once for yourself whatever your heart desires, and it will be yours."
When I read a promise like that, I gravitate immediately toward the part that says I can ask whatever my heart desires and it will be mine. But before that, Jesus said, "If you maintain a living communion with Me, and My word is at home with you. . . ."
If this is happening in your life, then you are going to want what God wants. If you maintain a living communion with God and His words are at home in your heart, then your outlook, your desires—and in time, your prayers—will change.