8. If praying for God’s Will is necessary, then do I have to know the specifics of what to ask for? How do we pray so that His Will gets done?
I think that it’s okay to ask for certain things and to make specific requests, but I also think that God doesn’t always need us to know exactly what to ask for. Because it’s not always about how we want Him to act or answer. God knows the best course of action, so we don’t have to have the details all ironed out before we pray. But we do need to pray. We need to share our concerns with Him and give them over to Him, to be transparent and authentic with Him, to confess our sins, to honestly share our wants and needs, to be sensitive to the Spirit, and to ask for His providence, His wisdom, and His guidance. And we should be asking Him to help us know what to pray - so that when He does impress upon our hearts a specific prayer request, we can hear Him and obey.
Prayer needs to be less about seeking exactly what we want or think we need, and more about seeking Him and being receptive to Him! And as we do this (and remain in the Word), we’ll be guided along in how to “get His Will done” and what to pray for. In fact, sometimes – when I have no idea how to pray about a situation – all I can do is pray this, “Guide and provide, Lord. Just guide and provide.” And then I leave it up to Him. I prayed this a lot during the house hunting process.
(And something that I am just starting to do is to ask Him in the morning, “Is there anything that You want me to know, do, or pray?” And then I try to listen for what He wants to tell me. I have spent way too many years doing all the talking and requesting, and I need to start listening more.)
I’ve heard people say that it doesn’t matter to God what we choose in life, as long as it glorifies Him, and that we don’t need to seek His opinion or His Will on all of our decisions.
I agree that we don’t need to run to Him about every decision, like whether we should have the turkey or roast beef sandwich for lunch. But I do think that if something is important to us, then it’s important to God. And the more of an impact a decision has on our lives, on other people’s lives, and on His kingdom, the more of an opinion God has on it. And we would be wise to seek His advice and opinion on these major decisions, like who we marry, where we live, the jobs we take, etc.
And the more significant the decision, the more likely it is that we will have to spend more time in prayer and more time waiting for God to reveal the next step. Large decisions should not be rushed into. But they should not cause us to panic and sweat, either. As long as we are bringing the issue to Him in prayer, abiding in Him, and living in obedience to His Word, He will clearly reveal the next step when it is time.
(Once again, we need to be willing to be obedient when He makes His Will clear. It might have felt good and godly to search for it, but sometimes we get scared when we are finally called to action. Resist the temptation to walk away from the next step. Pray for strength and boldness. And then, step out in faith, knowing that if God set it up and called you to it, He’ll provide all you need to accomplish whatever He’s asking you to do.)
I caused myself so much stress and confusion believing that I might miss “His Will” about a house. At the very least, I was obedient to the command to “Wait,” but I waited so badly, panicked that I’d “do it wrong” and that He wouldn’t get through to me. (And even then, I only waited because I had no choice. Thank you, Lord, that I had no choice.)
But after seeing how He answered, I realize now that when He finally does “remember” and reveal the next step, there is no doubt that it’s from God. The door opens so obviously and completely that you can’t help but know it’s from Him. His fingerprints will be all over it. I caused myself so much unnecessary heartache! I didn’t need to be so anxious along the way, because as long as I was tied to Him in prayer and His Word and abiding in Him, He would have come through loud and clear!
(And it’s in the process of waiting for Him that a lot of growth takes place. Don’t fight the waiting! Learn from it and use it to draw nearer to Him!)
Posts in this "Understanding God's Will" series:
9c: Verses 9d: Idolatry 9e: Unanswered 9f: Not Listening 9g: More Verses 9h: Effective Prayer 9i: Still Waiting 10: Bad Things Happen 11a: Happens For A Reason? 11b: Marriage Trouble 11c: Deliberate Ignorance 11d: Bad Things Beyond Us 12: God Works Good 13: Limiting God? 14/15: God Forcing Things? 16: Change God's Mind? 17: But God Can't Change? 18: Our Responsibilities