Often, when we pray, we forget what prayer is for. Instead of worshipping God and asking for forgiveness, we use prayer to ask for things that we lust after. James says that this is one reason why God does not give us what we pray for:
“When you ask, you do not receive,because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3).
But worse than that, these prayers can make us an enemy of God:
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Wow! Those are strong words. The reason he calls us “adulterous” is because when we spend all of our prayer time asking for worldly riches, we are worshiping money instead of God. This is modern day idolatry. It is bad enough to engage in idolatry at any time, but it is especially bad to engage in it while you are attempting to pray to God.