I was continuing to read in Prodigal God last night, a book that has astounded me with insights into the story of the Lost Son in Luke 15. Here's another thought that got me seriously thinking.
The oldest son strived to please himself. He remained loyal to his father, not out of love for him, but with a mindset of thinking "Loyalty will get me what I want." How often do we approach God with that mindset? How often do we worship him in order to get the blessings we feel we deserve? I know I often find hidden motives in many of the things I pray for.
What if we instead prayed and asked God to show us what would please him most in any situation? What if our aim, our desire even was to please God before pleasing ourselves? How much different might our lives look? I will say this much, praying such would be dangerous because we might be led to places our flesh does not want to go. Praying such might mean being humbled, trading away things that we want in order to give to others the things they need.
When faced with those choices, in praying to please God and not ourselves, would we still follow or would we turn and walk away, as the rich young ruler did? (Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31, and Luke 18:18-30)