What motivates your prayer life?

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What motivates your prayer life?

I hadn’t thought of what motivates my prayer life until I heard a sermon by Dawna De Silva called Praying from Power. I listened, riveted to my chair, taking in every word as though I was hearing for the first time. Each word carried weight, clarity, and authority. It demanded my full attention and required I carefully think about each point.

What was the motive behind my prayers? Fear? Selfish ambition? Love?

I never thought of what motivates my prayer life. I always talk to God the way I talk to my best friend or trusted adviser. I take my cares to him and my tales of woe. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, I realize that prayer is a lot more about agreeing with God than it is about me.

We are in a war with two sides

None of us can avoid the reality of spiritual warfare. There are two sides: God’s or Satan’s. For many of us (myself included), we flip between these two sides depending on what we are experiencing or believing. Our feelings often override God’s truth while our hurts and pains are easy access points for Satan’s lies.

The motive behind your prayer either agrees with God or the enemy.

Think about it!

Fear and selfish-ambition aren’t at all characteristics of God’s nature. God is love and perfect love drives out all fear. Selfish ambition becomes self-righteousness and pride. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

What motivates your prayer

Love, on the other hand, is the essence of God’s nature, the core of who he is. When we pray from a heart that is motivated by love, we partner with God and faith rises. Our faith releases angel armies and catches our Father’s attention.

The more I analyze the motive behind each prayer, the easier it becomes for me to discern the heart behind my prayers. It gets quicker to recognize those prayers riddled with fear, anxiety, and worry; or, the prayers puffed up with arrogance, selfishness, and my ideas of what’s best. Suddenly, I find myself forced to trust God more. I begin to renew my mind while Jesus simultaneously uncovers the lies and preconceived notions I believe about him and his plans for me.

How do you identify what motivates your prayers?

For us to identify the motive behind our prayers, we need to understand what fear, ambition, and love sound and look like.

A prayer motivated by fear will sound something like this: “Father please protect me as I go on this mission to Iraq. Don’t let the bombs come near me. I really need your protection. Help me come back home alive and safe.”

(I hope you’re having a good chuckle at this 🙂 ) Prayers motivated by fear sound fearful, anxious, and worried. They are often characterized with undercurrents of panic, overwhelm, and chaos. They lack peace and security. When we pray these types of prayers we have lost sight of our Father’s heart towards us.

Prayers from a place of ambition will sound a bit like this: “Father, thank you for your favor on me. Open their eyes to see how awesome my products are. I ask for your favor so I can get these sales in.” Such prayers are covered in a heart that wants to look good in front of the world. It’s about your agenda, not God’s. These prayers are impatient, demanding, self-centered.

But, a prayer motivated by love is a prayer God can work with. It’s a prayer full of faith, truth, and purity. These prayers God can bless. They sound something like this: Father, I thank you for the husband you gave me. I thank you for your hand upon him, to give him favor and guidance. Thank you that as he goes about his day, today, he would know your presence with Him. I thank you, Lord, that he would be so moved by your love it would overflow into the lives of those around him. I speak confidence and boldness into him to obey your voice leading him in every decision he has to make, today. Thank you for the testimonies he will bring when he comes home, testimonies of your goodness, provision, and love.”

Can you hear the difference?

Prayers from love shift the atmosphere in our homes, cities, marriages, families, and communities. They see what God is doing and call it into place. We need to pray the character, heart, and promises of God from a heart of love. This gives us the supernatural ability to see what God sees, do what he is doing, and speak what he is saying. It’s a heart submitted and surrendered to God.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no extra cost to your purchase.  I recommend books and products I believe will grow your relationship with God. Many of these products I have used myself and seen incredible growth in my walk with Jesus.

Here are some ebooks (you can get the paperbacks too) of some of my favorite books on prayer which I believe will encourage you in your prayer life:

957762DA: The Power of a Praying Woman - Slightly Imperfect The Power of a Praying Woman – Slightly Imperfect
By Stormie Omartian


402995: Prayer Changes Things: Taking Your Life to the Next Prayer Level Prayer Changes Things: Taking Your Life to the Next Prayer Level
By Bill Johnson, Mahesh Chavda & James Goll
409543: A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming with God to Transform Your World A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming with God to Transform Your World
By Bill Johnson

Get your FREE Checklist on Prayer Motives to help you learn to discern between fear, selfish-ambition, and love in your prayer life.


  1. Chioma 4th August 2017 at 09:22 - Reply

    I’m so glad I read this. In all honesty, I seem to tilt between all three; prayers from fear, selfish ambition and love. I pray that God will search my heart and find me worthy and that I will pray from a place of love and gratitude.

    • Ailie 5th August 2017 at 09:32 - Reply

      Hi Chioma
      I think we all tilt between all three. I tend to often tilt into fear more often than I’d like. Thank the Lord for his understanding and grace. He takes us by the hand and leads us further into his love

  2. Cathy 4th August 2017 at 15:23 - Reply

    Great post, Ailie. God has been moving in my heart and showing me the difference between praying for someone -and- accusing them in prayer or praying against them. When I accuse, I agree with the enemy. That is not my desire!! Instead of complaining to God, I need to lift the person up and ask blessing and closeness to God.

    Your post takes this all a step further. I appreciate your words and encouragement. It’s great food for thought and I love your examples!

    • Ailie 5th August 2017 at 14:34 - Reply

      It’s so interesting because God cares about what’s on our hearts yet he is calling us higher. To move past our complaints and frustrations to see from His perspective. It’s challenging yet rewarding. I’m glad you liked the examples, I wasn’t sure they were conveying what I wanted to say lol 🙂 love you my friend

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