The Solution to Conflict is Prayer

The relationships and circumstances of your life introduce many challenges. Arguments, disagreements, failures, disappointments and misunderstandings occur. Sometimes you are the cause. Other times, it is someone else. Often, it is both.

These conundrums are inevitable. At work. At home. At church. At school. Within the dearest friendships. So it becomes important to respond properly. But how? James 4:1-3 provides helpful advice.

Conflicts Rise from Selfish Desires

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Face it. You struggle with other people and circumstances because you believe they are disrupting your personal expectations. You have a strong desire for a certain kind of life – certain kind of relationships and certain kind of circumstances – that paint a perfect picture of personal comfort, success and enjoyment. You want things your way. You want every piece of life to fit into the little box that has your name on it. And when anybody or anything disrupts your clearly defined set of selfish priorities, you put up a fight to defend yourself and remove the disruption. Ultimately, you are fighting against God.

Conflicts Continue When You Fail to Pray

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.

Say whatever you like. But when you grow agitated, frustrated, embittered and hostile toward other people and things, you struggle for one simple reason. You are not praying. You can outsmart and outwork anyone and anything, but you will continue to miss out on everything you are fighting for. Why? Because you are not letting God fight your battles. You are not going to him in prayer.

  • How can a husband love his wife if he is not praying for her? Are you praying for your wife, or just arguing with her?
  • How can a wife love her husband if she is not praying for him? Are you praying for your husband, or just tangling with him?
  • How can parents love their children if they are not praying for them? Are you praying for your children, or just lecturing them?
  • How can children love their parents if they are not praying for them? Are you praying for your parents, or just fighting with them?
  • How can fellow church members love one another if they are not praying for them? Are you praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ, or just reacting to them?

If you are willing to take an honest look at the conflicts you face and the battles you are fighting with other people, you may quickly discover that James is right. You are fighting hard to solve the conflicts you face, but you are not praying for the intervention of God. You are fighting with people, not praying for them, and it’s getting rather ugly.

Conflicts Continue When You Pray for Selfish Reasons

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

If you are willing to concede the obvious fact that you are not praying for the people who bother you, then you should be prepared to concede one more fact as well. You are fighting for selfish reasons. And even if you begin praying, you will find no answers. Why? Because you are working hard, or maybe even praying, to defend your personal space, to preserve the ideal, self-gratifying life you’ve conjured up in your imagination. You want a certain kind of life – certain kind of relationships and certain kind of circumstances. But the life you want is not the life that God is giving you. He has other plans in mind. And He is using the people and circumstances in your life to change your expectations and transform your perspective. He is presenting you with opportunities to grow in humility, not pride. He is teaching you to embrace His authority, and to reject your own. He is training you to embrace eternal objectives, not worldly ones.

Are you fighting against God by fighting against the people who love you? Are you praying for the people with whom you disagree? And are you praying for the godly reasons, not selfish ones?

As you face the conflicts and challenges of daily life, with people and circumstances, release your selfish expectations to God. And pray. The solution to conflict is prayer. This is the humble approach, and God will give you grace.

2 replies
  1. Israel Rosario Jr
    Israel Rosario Jr says:

    Pastor Overmiller, thank you for that powerful post on prayer, and the flesh that we constantly battle. Tremendous Biblical insight! Brother Israel Rosario.

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