“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” – 1 John 5:14-15
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” – Matthew 21:22
We know that when we pray we are to pray with faith, confident that God will act, but sometimes our faith as we pray gets shaken because we also know that we are supposed to pray “according to His will”. We sometimes wonder if we are praying according to God’s will and can become unsure in our prayers because of this.
I don’t have this all figured out, but I have learned to pray more boldly and be confident that I am praying according to His will because God reveals much of His will for us in scripture.
These are just a few examples of things that from Scripture we know are God’s will for us and therefore we can pray for them, knowing with full confidence that “He hears us” and “we have what we asked of Him.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
It is the Lord’s will that we not be anxious and instead bring our requests to God in prayer with thanksgiving so that we might have the peace of God.
We often pray for our circumstances, which is right and good to do, but our peace does not need to wait till our circumstances change and should not be based on our circumstances.
For example: If we have a difficulty of some kind we can often be led to be anxious or worry about it. We will then take it to the Lord in prayer–as we should–but where we often get a little mixed up is the peace we are seeking in prayer is dependent on when the circumstances change.
However, the truth is that we have a “peace that surpasses all understanding” available to us before our circumstances change and regardless of whether they do or not. God is compassionate and He moves and acts in all of our needs, from the smallest to the greatest, but our peace is rooted in Christ and He will guard our hearts and minds. It would not be a peace that is beyond comprehension if it was tied to our earthly circumstances, it surpasses all understanding precisely because it is available to us anytime and anywhere regardless of circumstances and in the face of any difficulty.
So, we should pray for God to work in our needs–and I believe that He does–but we should also pray for His peace that comes before we see the need met and that we know from His Word is His will for us to have. We can pray with absolute confidence knowing that God hears us and that we have what we ask of Him because it is His will for us to have it.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:25-26
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:9-11
Don’t worry, God knows what you need and He is the good and perfect Father. He will provide for our needs. “His eye is on the sparrow”, how much more so on His children?
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15
We are children of the living God, He is our “Abba Father”, who or what do we have to fear?
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
We should confidently pray against fear knowing it is the Lord’s will that we do not live in fear, but in our status as children of the all-powerful God.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13
We know it is God’s will of us to stand against temptation and He promises that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. If we pray to be led away from temptation and for the strength to stand against it, we can be confident that God will be faithful.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
When we ask the Lord for forgiveness, we don’t have to wonder if He gives it, it is His desire to give it. I have written before that God delights to show mercy and this forgiveness we receive is perfect and complete. We need not doubt whether God hears us or whether He forgives us. He does.
Hope, Joy and Peace
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
God is the source of our hope, joy, and peace. Not just a little bit of each of these, we are to be filled with “all joy and peace” and to “overflow with hope”. We can confidently ask God for all joy and peace and overflowing hope knowing that they are His will for us.
Pray the scriptures listed above as well as the many others you come across in the bible. Know that these things are God’s will for you, that when you ask you will receive, and that God’s Word accomplishes all that it sets out to do. His Word never fails. Let the certainty of His Word and the knowledge that you are praying directly within God’s will for you build up your faith so that you may pray boldly and with confidence.
We focus so much on trying to figure out how to pray for God’s will in “other things” like if we should buy a certain item or if we should pursue a particular career that we miss all of these areas in scripture that clearly tell us what God’s will is for us. Yes, we should pray and seek His will for our decisions and present our requests to Him, but let us not miss that He desires for us to live with peace no matter what, standing strong against temptation, without fear, and filled with all joy, overflowing with hope and so much more.
Pray boldly in the will of God and know that He hears you and you have whatever you ask.