When you are praying, do you ask God for something or do you simply give thanks for all that you have understanding He already knows what your needs are? This is really an important part of prayer.
I’ve often heard from people who find themselves disappointed after they’ve prayed, but God, “didn’t answer.” My question to these people is always, “Are you sure?”
I’d like to take a little time this morning to talk about God’s will, and how it is so important to all of us, to understand what “God’s will” actually means.
God’s Will and Ours
When we pray, we must pray for God’s will above our own. The reason being, His will is perfect, and ours is far less. Honestly, wouldn’t you want God’s will rather than your own for your life and the lives of all you love?
After all, God knows the future and He knows what’s best for us because He knows and understands us far better than we know ourselves.
Even the Disciples of Christ weren’t exactly sure how to pray so, they asked Jesus to teach them how. He taught them how to pray to The Father with what we now call The Lord’s Prayer which contains this very clear statement:
Matthew 6:10 – “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
We should also understand we need to be patient after we’ve prayed and never expect immediate answers.
2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
“As some understand slowness.” That’s us! We’re always expecting God to respond to us now, because now, is the time we are in need. What we need to understand is God is not on anyone’s timeline but His own. Remember what Peter wrote in the verse before this one.
2 Peter 3:8 – “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
Sounds like a long time to me but, nonetheless, I get what Peter has told us here. We need to have patience with our God as He clearly does with us!
Perceiving the Will of God
We are better equipped to understand the will of God when we are not conformed to this world, but rather, are transformed by a renewed mind. The Apostle Paul tells us…
Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Yes, we should not conform to the ways of this world. We are believers and, therefore, should have a renewed mind and view things differently than all other …and Paul goes on to write:
Romans 12:3 – “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
One of the best ways I can suggest in trying to understand God’s will is to read the Bible. You will find the verses; you will see where God’s will always prevails; and you will begin to understand what it means to have patience in knowing God hears you and will do for you as He sees fit… as is best for you.
Knowing God’s Will
We should all understand that living a life that pleases God, and like not living in the flesh, is the will of God. So, God’s will is not something He hides from us or some mystery we must figure out.
He doesn’t drop clues out of Heaven, but it is by His Spirit and by His Word that we can find the will of God for our lives. Here’s how the Apostle Peter puts it:
1 Peter 2:16-17 – “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
And how can we protect our soul in order to know and feel the will of God?
1 Peter 2:11-12 – “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul, Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Here, Peter personally urges believers to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
Accepting God’s Will
If Jesus had not accepted God’s will, we would still be in our sins, and we’d die in our sins, and that means the wrath of God would abide on us for eternity, so doing God’s will, even though painful, must always be done.
Did you realize that Jesus prayed three times in the Garden to have this cup pass, but in the end, He submitted to the Father’s will, even knowing what it would mean, and still managed to pray…
Luke 22:42b – “Nevertheless Father, not my will, but yours, be done.”
That’s total submission to the Father’s will. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew the Scriptures and the vivid portrayal of the vicious and brutal beating He would take (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53), so when you can pray for God’s will and accept His will, even though it brings about a lot of suffering, God is highly pleased.
Giving Thanks is God’s Will
Christians give thanks to God for all the good things He’s done, and that’s a lot, but it’s actually God’s will for us to be thankful at all times, no matter what the circumstances are.
We must learn contentment, and what better way to learn it than to go through some very difficult circumstances. The Apostle Paul had lived through hunger, thirst, cold, heat, beatings, imprisonment, and even a shipwreck, but he could still say…
Philippians 4:11 – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
And Paul goes on…
Philippians 4:12 – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Now I think that verse is something we can all relate to, am I wrong? So then, how have we come this far? How did Paul get through what he went through? He tells us, very clearly, as he goes on…
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
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It’s difficult to know the will of God as the Bible is a little quite on specifics like, should I take the job, should we move to this city, should I get married to this person, or other such critically important decisions we make in life.
The best way to know the will of God is to read the Word of God because God’s will is most clearly revealed in His Word, and when you are reading the Word of God, the Spirit of God can help you make tough decisions.
When we make decisions without thinking about the will of God and reading the Word of God and speaking to people of God, we can end up out of the will of God, and we all know, that leads to no place good.
After reading His word, close your eyes… envision the Holy Spirit surrounding you and feel God’s will upon you!Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)