James 4:3 -- "You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts."
Improper motive is a sin frequently overlooked. Very likely, it is the unrecognized cause of many unanswered prayers. Indeed, it is all too common for people to treat God like a mail order catalog. We constantly give Him our list of wants, but have little thought of what we can give to Him. We always want Him to do things for us, but are not nearly as concerned with what we can do for Him. Many people pray and worship with very selfish motives. We almost treat God like a "magic genie" to manipulate for what we want.
Questions for Reflection: Are you guilty of seeking God more for what He can do for you than out of genuine love for Him? Do you sense your thoughts are mixed with selfish desires rather than seeking God's glory? Are you aware of the desire to be noted and praised by people rather than mainly seeking God's pleasure? Are you unwilling to pray for God's will, when it does not fit your plan? Does your love and worship decrease when things don't go your way? When you get disappointed, do you "cool off" toward God and church? If so, this reveals a significant level of impure motive.
If you are convicted of selfish, impure or shallow motives, immediately confess these sins. Ask God to grant you a deep purity of purpose for His kingdom. Ask Him to give you "unconditional" love and service to Himself. If you trust Christ, the Holy Spirit will fill your heart with a pure, unconditional love of God (Romans 5:5).
As we confess and forsake specific sin, we must always remember it is "Christ in us, the Hope of Glory" (Col. 1:27). As believers, we are forgiven and empowered only by the covenant of Christ's blood and His indwelling life. As we plead His precious blood and wholly trust in His fullness, victory is surely ours!