Up until last week if you had asked me what the purpose of prayer was, I would have enthusiastically told you that it was to cultivate and build our relationship with the Lord. Prayer is communication, fellowship and intimacy with the Lord = relationship. While I still think relationship is a key element, the Lord is opening my eyes to a new understanding and dimension of the purpose of prayer.
A dear friend and I were digging into first John this week and we came across a verse that challenged both of us.
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
BAMM. A simple little verse, but with profound implications. God hears us, and acts on it when it is in His will to do what we are praying for. I’ve thought about praying ‘in the will’ of God before. Praying scriptures over situations – things that I know are God’s will. But I RARELY approach prayer with confidence and especially not praying in a way that I know what God’s will is. Doubts flood my mind “who am I to know what God’s will is?” – Then why would God tell us to pray in His will if we were not supposed to know what His will is?
I’ve always felt unsettled when someone would add “ but only, if it’s your will, Lord” to the end of their prayers – because I felt it almost nullified what they just prayed – then why pray?
After discussing it for a while, my friend and I decided to experiment with praying in the Lord’s will for specific situations in our lives where God had made clear to us what His will was*. We prayed we would dare to pray in the Lord’s will for the following week. I was scared. What if I got it wrong? And prayed outside of God’s will? It was the same fear that has paralyzed me for most of my life. I’m praying to a HOLY God. Can I trust the Lord enough to correct me if I’m wrong? – Yes. If I remain in the fear – then why pray?
The next day I awkwardly began to pray about a personal situation and pray in the direction the Lord had made clear to me. Getting up from my knees I glanced at framed verse on my wall and it pierced my heart but only added to myfrustration. It was a quote from Jeremiah 1:12*:
“I am watching over My word to perform it”
If God was already showing me what He wanted to do in this situation, and He was watches over His words to perform them – than why pray?!?
It made no sense to me to pray over something God was already going to do! It’s like praying for His return. Why do we pray for it when we know it’s going to happen? The next few days I spent wrestling through pride, humility, surrender, grace and obedience. I continued to pray because I knew that at least was God’s command and will – to pray. So pray I did. And as I prayed it deepened my relationship with the Lord as it opened my eyes to a different purpose for prayer.
I pray because it brings glory to God. It takes the control out of my hands and places the answered prayer in His hands. Even when I know what the outcome will be I still pray for it – because God hears a confident prayer, it humbles me and He gets the glory! 2 Corinthians 1:20 says:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
God does it – the “yes” to our prayers and His promises are found in Him. The “amen” (meaning – so be it) is spoken by us to the glory of God. When we pray in His will we are speaking glory to God by saying, “so be it!” This then is why we pray!
Praying in God’s will is so simple it’s complicated!
“The simpler the process is, the more you have to trust – if there was more you had to do, it would take our focus off of God and put it on what we do.” – From the Lord and Trina Holden over at All That is Good.
It’s all about God getting the glory – and how He chooses to bless us with fulfilled “yes” promises along the way.
*(Please note – how to know the will of God in order to pray it, would be another post entirely! I realize I’m not addressing that here! It’s a lot of work and prayer to get to the point of knowing what direction and how to pray for a situation.It’s starts by seeking God for who He is, and digging into His word. It’s not to be taken lightly, and neither one of us did!)
**Photo Compliments of Elisabeth Adams – Please read Jeremiah 1 and the promise of the Almond Blossom in the winter – a sign of spring.
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