The Apostle, John, said in his own letter, I John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
For this Blog post/ Bible Study I will depend much on the work of Stan Grenz, and his book, Prayer- the Cry for the Kingdom. His outline and his thoughts are excellent.
Grenz states that “praying according to God’s Will has to do with both the petitioner and the petition.” He quotes John Allan Lavender, “Spirituality leads to effective praying, whereas the prayer of the unspiritual person is of no avail.”
Grenz writes about the importance of our own condition.
- Sin hinders prayer. Psalm 66:18 says “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear”
- As stated in the study of the Lord’s Model Prayer, our two great enemies are our own sin, and also the unforgiveness of the sins of others. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25
- Interpersonal problems affect our prayers negatively. Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
- I Peter 3:7 says, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone more susceptible to harm, as a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” A lack of mutuality in marriage will hinder prayer.
- Here is another… Proverbs 21:13 “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.”
Isaiah sums it up in chapter 59 verses 1-2, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short
That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
Next, Grenz points out the importance of proper motivation. “Our calling as disciples of Jesus is to engage in the business of the King.” A Look at the prayers of Paul showed that, “his central desire was that [his readers] come to a full knowledge of—that is, that they experience fully—the love of Christ.” And James warned against wrong motives. Chapter 4:3. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Third, the Lord calls us into cooperation with him in his work in this world. “Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 “The willingness to cooperate with God in the granting of one’s request brings results, whereas unwillingness to be God’s tool leads to ineffectiveness.”
A fourth principle of praying according to the Will of God is that it will naturally be compatible with the Word of God. It is Biblical Prayer and may easily, even rightly, be “seasoned with God’s purposes as disclosed in scripture.” Luke gives us an example of this in Acts 4:23-31, as believers prayed in response to the threats of the Rulers-
“When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, ‘O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM,
who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE,
AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?
‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND,
AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER
AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’
‘For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.’” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Then there is another principle of praying according to God’s Will. Many times we think of those things we may want and we check them out against God’s Will in scripture. We want to see if our wishes are in accord. This is appropriate, but it is not complete. It is also our calling to make sure we know God’s wishes about all matters of his Will, and how he wants to include us. God’s Will isn’t just about checking out our Will, but also growing in the life of letting his Will become our Will. Is there more I should be wanting for Him.
Let’s pray for areas of concern to God and the believer-
- For those who have not committed their lives to Christ,
- For the world’s needs, evangelism, missions, peacemaking, feeding, helping, etc.,
- For world leaders,
- For social action,
- For other Christians,
- For situations in which God’s Will is not known,
- For the sick, the grieving, broken hearts, broken spirits, broken minds,
- For those who suffer abuse, for those who fight abuse, for how we should fight abuse,
- The list goes on.
Stanley Grenz, Prayer- the Cry for the Kingdom, revised edition, 2005, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, chapters 3-4, pages 54-92
 Grenz, p. 55
 Grenz, p. 59
 Grenz, p. 61
 Grenz, p.64