What if you’re doing something wrong and you don’t even realize it? What if the next steps you’ve been taking have been foolishly on the wrong path taking you in the wrong direction, but you’re just doing all you know to do? What if you’ve been making the wrong decisions, attaching to the wrong people, thinking the wrong thoughts, and you can’t see all the wrong things this is creating in your life?

That’s the problem. We don’t know. We can’t see. Everything we do could be wrong, even when our intentions are so right.

There’s a prayer for that. Seriously, there’s a prayer for the girl who has been potentially going the wrong way, but wants to get it right now. There’s a prayer for the girl who doesn’t want to screw up again. There’s a prayer for the girl who genuinely wants to please God and walk in his will.

Isn’t that you? Aren’t you ready to walk God’s way? Aren’t you ready to trade your will for his will? Aren’t you ready to release everything you’ve been holding back so you can receive the fullness of what he holds for you?

This prayer is tucked away in your bible, and it’s just been waiting for you to be really ready to pray it.

Psalm 139: 23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”

This is a powerful prayer that should not be taken lightly. If you ask God to search you, you better be ready to respond to what he shows you. Because here’s the thing, what if you’ve been asking for all the right things, but you’ve been asking for the wrong reasons, and that’s the sole reason why your prayers seem to be going unanswered. Did you know that’s possible? James 4:3, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with the wrong motives.”

When you ask the Lord to search you and he reveals to you that your motives are wrong, what are you going to do with that?

If you don’t plan to go to work on the things he shows you, don’t even ask. But if you’re serious, if you’re willing to work on WHY that prayer isn’t being answered, or WHY this has really gone wrong, then ask God to search you.

Here’s what God has shown me: The motive behind my seeking of God is often off. I’m trying to persuade my seemingly reluctant God to do what I want him to do. I’m trying to flip through my Bible for God to co-sign what I want. I’m trying to earn enough good favor with God to qualify for more. \

OUCH. That’s the truth of what God shows me when I ask him to search me.

What does he show you? What are the motives behind your prayers? What are the motives behind your service? Why are you even listening today? Are you checking boxes to be that good Jesus girl? Are you trying to earn the gold star? I mean if you’re going to ask God to search you, be ready for what he shows you.

The purpose of prayer isn’t to persuade a reluctant God to do what we want. Oh, what a misuse of the power he has given us. The purpose of prayer is to align our will with His. It’s to open our eyes to what God sees so we partner with him in accomplishing what he is doing. It’s to allow his power to flow through us for his purposes, not our own. We’ve once again totally made this all about us, haven’t we?

What God continually shows me is, “Pamela, this isn’t about you.” Oh how he loving takes my face into his hands and turns my head in the right direction. The direction of what his greater purposes are. The direction of what HE is doing, what HE wills; the bigger, eternal picture that I often overlook.

What if you’re doing the right thing, but you’re doing it for the wrong reasons? What if that’s why your journey has continually been 1 step forward and 2 steps back? Are you willing to humbly lay that before the Lord and ask him to search you? There may be an unhealed hurt within you creating wrong motives and until you allow God to reveal that unhealed hurt and go to work on it, you will continue to fight a very unnecessary uphill battle.

Have you ever heard of “revenge body”? A woman was hurt by a man, so she’s going to get him back by becoming super hot. I think there was even a reality show about that. Taking care of your body and being healthy is a good thing … but honey, if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, you’re going to create a real mess. You’ll be wearing stuff you shouldn’t be wearing, attracting all the wrong men, lining up temptations you may not be strong enough to resist … then you wonder why you can’t just be happy. Sweetheart, your motive was off.

Wrong motives make massive messes. God sees your motives, that’s why he can’t co-sign on the things that will hurt you. You want wild success, but God knows what wild success would do to you, so he graciously shuts that crap down. You want to win the lottery, but God knows lottery often leads to lazy, lonely, lies and lousy living. So nope, you don’t have the winning numbers. Out of God’s pure goodness and grace, you don’t win.

Notice this prayer says, “See if there is any offensive way in me.” This is 2 fold.

  1. Lord, is there any path of pain I’m walking on? Are my choices leading me somewhere you would never want me to end up? Is this one seemingly little bad habit growing into something that will wreck my life? Am I creating future pain with today’s choices? Show me Lord. Stop me from taking that next step.
  2. Lord, is there something I’m doing that is causing you grief? Am I unknowingly hurting you? Show me how I am offensive. Show me what I need to change. Ephesians 4:30, “Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live.” Am I hurting the Holy Spirit that lives within me in any way? If you ask him, he will surely prompt you with a holy conviction of what needs to change.

This prayer ends with, “Lead me in the everlasting way.” Lord, bring me back to the path to you. Jesus came to give you life and life to the full, how are you living little instead of full, big, everlasting, eternal way? Where are you focused on temporary instead of eternal things?

Do you humbly recognize where you could be wrong? Do you genuinely want to get it right for God? He will graciously and gently reveal the way to you, and there may be some changes he asks you to make on the journey, but I know this much, he will also give you the strength to make every one of those changes. He will offer the healing for every broken place within you that has blurred your motives and confused your heart.

This is how you make right what you didn’t even realize was wrong. This is how you take the next steps on the right path. This is how you make the right decisions, with the right people, and step into the good plans God has for your future.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
Lead me in the everlasting way.

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