KJV - Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
NLT - You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
Because You Don't Ask
SIDENOTE: The book of James ranks as one of my very favorites of all the books of the Bible. I relate to it, because James minces no words. He is quite blunt in his writing, and gets right to the point; which tends to bruise my heart and convict my spirit. I honestly glean something new each and every time I read the verses in James. And I have such a long way to go in dying-to-self and putting His will first and foremost. Sigh. ッ
We need to understand to whom James was writing so as not to misinterpret its meaning. James was writing to the earliest Christians who are sometimes referred to as 'Jewish Christians.' On the surface, James is talking about discord amongst the believers; yet, in essence, he is pointing us to faith in this verse.
Christians are not perfect. We are saved.
We can have strong personalities and strong opinions. Sometimes, this leads to a bitter battle within our flock. James is addressing these issues and getting to the root of the problem: carnal desires. Sounds like a bad title to an off-putting movie, but in the simplest of terms: we are selfish. We put ourselves first, instead of looking to serve others' needs before our own.
James uses strong words...lust, kill, fight, war...to grab our attention and turn our focus to where it should be...on God. So, how does this relate to prayer?
The reason these destructive desires exist among Christians is because they are not seeking God for their needs (). Or, when they do ask, they ask God with purely selfish motivation ().
We must remember that the purpose of prayer is not to persuade a reluctant God to do our bidding. The purpose of prayer is to align our will with His, and in partnership with Him, to ask Him to accomplish His will on this earth.
What does this verse speak to you?