Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)
Prayer for Presence
Lord Jesus, in this moment of prayer, free me from the distractions of the day so that I may be deeply present to you and myself, for the sake of the world around me.
1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. CSB
God has made us a great promise. If we ask anything that is according to His will, He will answer us. That promise seems almost too good to be true, yet it is in the Word of God. God hears and answers prayer.
“Why then have not all my prayers been answered?”, you might ask. There can be several reasons why some prayers aren’t answered and over the next several days we will study many of them. Today we will consider the necessity of praying according to God’s will.
The Bible says – “…whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Robert Law once said,
“Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven,
but for getting God’s will done on earth.”
First of all we need to understand that the purpose of prayer is not to inform God of what needs to be done. Jesus said that our heavenly Father already knows what we need, even before we ask. (see Mt 6:8) We also need to understand that the purpose of prayer is not to manipulate God to do our will. Jesus instructed His disciples to pray – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” It’s unfortunate that many misguided pastors teach their people that if they have enough faith, they can make God do anything.
If God already knows what we need and if He is only going to act in accordance to His own predetermined will, why should we bother to pray? We should pray because it is often through our prayers that God is able to guide and teach us what is right. Consider the example of the Apostle Paul.
2 Corinthians 12:7 … a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. CSB
At first Paul prayed for the Lord to remove his thorn. Three times Paul earnestly pleaded for deliverance. But as he prayed, the Lord began to reveal to him that there was a divine purpose for his thorn. It was through his thorn that the Lord would ultimately be glorified for His sufficient grace.
Prayer did not change Paul’s circumstances. Prayer changed how Paul viewed his circumstances.
2 Corinthians 12:10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong. CSB
Prayer helped Paul to embrace his circumstances and to exalt his Savior through them.
Perhaps there is a great need in your life and your not sure if you should pray, or how you should pray. Let me share with you some of the principles I have learned when in a similar situation:
- Begin by being open and honest with God. Share with God all that is in your heart.
- Continue to pray until you receive God’s answer to your prayers.
Do not consider His silence to be an indication that He is not listening. Rather, in the times of silence, listen for His still small voice. It may well be that through such intimate times of desperate prayer, you will be able to see and understand things of God that you might not have otherwise.
- Once God answers your prayers and begins to reveal His will, choose His will over your own.
Consider these words from James –
James 1:5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways. CSB
God is only going to answer the prayers that are according to His will and He is only going to reveal His will to those who truly desire it.
Devotional by Terry Covey
Space for Reflection (take 2-3 minutes to be silent or write out your thoughts or prayers from the scripture passage or devotional)
The Lord’s Prayer
aOur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. [And lead us not into temptation,] but deliver us from the evil one.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)