I don’t normally like one-two-three formulae, but here’s a Bible verse that suggests one that we should all hang on our refrigerator:
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
1. Ask for things on God’s heart.
2. Be confident that God hears your prayer.
3. See Him answer.
Of course, our only active part is the first one. When we are praying the will of God, then He hears and acts. It sounds childishly simple, doesn’t it? However, many of us find two aspects of this promise difficult: we struggle to know God’s will about many things and we are reluctant to set aside our carefully compiled shopping list of prayers.
Understanding the will of God is both a long-term and a short-term process. Let me explain. When turning to the Bible for guidance is our lifetime practice, we gradually become attuned to God’s heart. It is not that we necessarily memorize Bible verses, but we know the character of God expressed in Scripture. In the short-term, we can always ask the Lord about His will on a subject and receive His answer. It might come in a Bible passage, through the counsel of others, or by a direct gift of wisdom.
Perhaps the hardest and most rewarding part of prayer is the untangling of our own pre-conceived ideas from His will. Our understanding of His will on a subject may change when we humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to alter our minds. We should lay down our list of prayer priorities and allow Him to show us what He wants us to pray for. When we do this, prayer turns into a two-way conversation between us and the Father, as He intended it to be.
Some people might ask, what is the point of praying if God only wants us to parrot His will? But surely, the fact that He does call us to pray shows that He has a higher purpose. If God only wanted His will done then He would not ask us to pray. His greater purpose is to mold us to be more like Him through prayer. If we live our prayer lives according to this formula then we grow deeper in relationship with Him and gradually become more like Him.
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