As part of my time in prayer and God's Word, I have recently begun reading D.A. Carson's devotional, For the Love of God: A Daily Campanion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word (Vol. 1). The readings are linked in with M'Cheyne's daily plan for Bible reading, and I bought the book to help me, particularly with getting through some of the long Old Testament historical narratives. (Note: Click here to visit a page that has some printable versions of M'Cheyne's daily plan for Bible reading.)
For today's section, one of the assigned readings is 1 Samuel 8. In this chapter, the Israelites are begging for a king, and Carson opens his devotional reading with this simple sentence: "Why people ask for something is at least as important as what they ask for."
After sharing an illustration about a businessman with corrupt motives in requesting that a new committee be added to the company, he questions: "How many of our own requests--in the home, in church, at work, in our prayers--mask motives that are decidedly self-serving?"
Carson notes that, through asking for a king, "the people are not simply lossening their ties to a prophet like Samuel, they are turning away from God himself (8:7-8). The result is horrific: they get what they want, along with a desperate range of new evils they had not foreseen."
So, I encourage you to take a moment and examine the motives behind many of your supplications to the Lord. You may just find that you have a lot more in common with these Israelites than you previously thought...