In our series ‘Living According To God’s Ways’, we looked this morning at the subject of praying according to God’s will. (1 John 5:14-15) Both John and Jesus spoke very positively on the subject of prayer (see also Mark 11:22-24), but many of us struggle to have such a positive experience of prayer. We may feel God is too busy to hear our prayers or that we don’t know how to pray, but the Bible assures us of our worth in God’s eyes (Matt 6:9-13, 25-34, Matt 10:30) and that we can have confidence that God hears and answers prayer.

Confidence is the first step to praying according to God’s will (see 1 John 3:21-22, 1 John 4:17, Heb 4:16, Heb 10:19, Heb 11:1). God has promised to listen when we pray (see Ps 116:1-2) and He listens attentively (see 2 Chronicles 7:14-15). He is our loving Father; prayer arises from an intimate relationship with God. It is not about twisting God’s arm to do what we want; instead, it is about a mutual respect and desire to do God’s will. We have to learn to believe what God says above what we feel or believe.

Praying according to God’s will happens when we realise that what God wants is the best. He is simply the best, and what He wants for us, for our families, for our church, for our community, for our world is the best. We need to move away from our arrogant certainty that we know best and come to pray on our knees in humble supplication. Often, we may not even know how to pray or what to pray for, but God’s Spirit can pray through us. (Rom 8:26-27)

To pray according to God’s will is to have wrestled with God and submitted to Him, as Jacob did and as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). As we grow in prayer, we can learn to pray through the prayers in the Bible (see Eph 3:16-19 and the Psalms, in particular.) Then we can be confident that God answers our prayers: ‘whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’ (Mark 11:24)