Knowing God's Will
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 ESV)
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Col 1:9 ESV)
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt 6:10 ESV)
Mystery and Majesty
(Most of the following was Adapted from: Rich Miller, "CFM University 101, Module 2, Lesson 1 - Priority of Prayer Video", http://www.freedominchrist.com/cfmstudenttraining101and201combinedinonesemester.aspx)
God knows all, sees all, understands all and needs no help in perceiving the right plan in all places at all times.
How does that truth about God apply to prayer?
First of all, our prayers never inform God of the situation. We can save our breath about bringing God up to speed about what’s going on.
Matthew 6:8 (ESV)
your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
He understands what needs to be done.
He has and will have all wisdom.
What is prayer anyway? What good does it do if God already knows everything and knows what is supposed to happen?
John 14:12-14 (ESV)
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Pray in Jesus' name… This actually means praying in accordance with all that the name stands for. It means we are to pray as He would pray, in accordance with His character and will, and if we do so, our prayers will be answered.
God has replaced His Son here on earth with His Son’s body – the body of Christ – the church. The things Jesus would be praying about and doing if He was still here we do instead.
How can we make sure we are praying as Jesus would pray? Bottom line question because if we are praying in His name and praying as Jesus would pray the scripture promises that our prayers will be answered – “I will do it”.
The way we can be sure we pray as Jesus prayed is by listening to the Father the way Jesus listened to the Father. And the Father’s will is made know to us through the word of God as we are filled with the Spirit of God.
- God laying on our heart the things that are on His heart as we seek His will through the Word of God and empowered by the Spirit of God. “FROM HIM” Our prayers are initiated in the heart of God and downloaded into our hearts.
- Then our prayers are offered up by us through His Spirit’s power and leading in us. “THROUGH HIM”
- Then our prayers ascend to God by means of our lips and heart up to Him. “TO HIM”
- The result is God answers those prayers and is glorified by those answered prayers.
Abiding "in Christ" is the Key
John 15:7 (ESV)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The passage has to do with abiding; the condition of prevailing in prayer is abiding in Christ. But whereas before he has spoken of his own abiding in believers, now he speaks of his words abiding in them (cf. 14:21,23). This is not a different attitude to prayer from what was in the previous chapter. There prayer must be offered "in the name" of Christ (14:14) and obedience is strongly insisted on. The same spiritual attitude is in mind here, but from a different standpoint. The prayers of those who are truly abiding in Christ will certainly be "in the name of Christ," that is in accordance with all that Christ stands for. And if they are really abiding in Christ they will live in obedience to the words of Christ. We should not overlook the importance of "my words." The teaching of Jesus is important 20 and not lightly to be passed over in the interests of promoting religious feeling. When believers abide in Christ and Christ's words abide in them, they are in accord with God's will and they will be fully answered.
Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 596. [emphasis added by webmaster]
We have the opportunity to pray as Jesus would pray for a situation. Praying in the name of Jesus according to the will of God requires taking time. Taking time to listen to the Father as he leads us by His Spirit through His word.
We could say that our prayers simply become an echo of His promptings in our hearts.
And when we know we have heard from God and know exactly what His will is for a given situation and we have discerned His will accurately then according to scripture:
1 John 5:14-15 (ESV)
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Effective prayer appears to involve a lot more listening than talking.
(End of material adapted from: Rich Miller, "CFM University 101, Module 2, Lesson 1 - Priority of Prayer Video", http://www.freedominchrist.com/cfmstudenttraining101and201combinedinonesemester.aspx)