I’ve heard different discussions on whether or not it’s okay to pray, ‘if it be your will, Lord.’ Those discussions stem from the belief of praying with confidence, boldness and faith according to God’s divine will (the Bible). This concept is based on what John says in 1 John 5: 14‐15: “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.” Some have thought that we shouldn’t say, “If it be your will” when we pray. While we should constantly be reading God’s Word to know and understand God’s will better, it’s not possible that we completely know and understand the will of God thoroughly. Any which way we slice it, prayer is still a human exercise. In many instances, God’s will is clearly revealed to us. The more we know scripture, the more we can be sure of God’s will when we pray. At the same time, we won’t always completely know God’s will, his infinite thoughts, ways, plans and purposes. Because God’s ways are higher than our ways, his ultimate will can’t always be understood by our finite, limited minds. So, when we’re unsure of God’s will, there is nothing wrong with praying, “If it be your will, Lord.” There are certain things, however, that we know for sure because we read about it in His Word! Regardless as to how we do it, prayer isn’t about phrasing everything perfectly or using the correct formula in the exact right way. Prayer is about deepening our relationship with the One who loves us with a love that defies human comprehension. Prayer is about communicating with God from our hearts in an honest, loving relationship. Because our hearts can (from time to time) lead us in the wrong way, it’s best to pray to God through His Word which is always true, always unbiased and always dependable. Prayer is one of the most blessed gifts we could ever hope to receive from our Heavenly Father. Celebrate that gift by doing it often, in thankfulness and in reverence. If Jesus prayed, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done”, why can’t we?
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you!
One morning this past week before entering into my devotional time, I opened my morning ‘newspaper’ to see what was going on in the lives of folks I care about. Facebook seems to be the ‘middle‐aged’ folks’ newspaper…at least it’s quickly become mine. I immediately saw three people dear to me requesting prayers for God to help them through a difficulty they were facing that day. It’s troubling to see people we love go through difficult times, isn’t it? I quickly came to an assumption. If these people didn’t think prayer worked, why would they send out a public request asking for folks to lift their name up to God? A second thought crossed my mind…has there ever been a time I’ve seen someone request prayers and I told them I’d be praying for them, but never did? I believe we need to be very cautious when telling others we’re praying for them. Anyone who requests prayers and is told they’re receiving them are anticipating answers from God. If we’ve said we’re praying, but we really aren’t, God isn’t being asked to intervene, heavenly power isn’t received and the one making the request may believe they’ve received their answer, when in actuality they haven’t. By far one of the most precious gifts we have is the gift of prayer. I’ll not pretend to understand all the complexities associated with prayer being asked or answered, but I really like what Charles Stanley said one time in a devotion I read. He said when we beseech God, He doesn’t readily respond with, “No”. In some instances He’ll say, “Yes”. If He so chooses not to say “Yes”, He’ll say, “Not yet”. If these first two options don’t appeal to Him, He’ll end up saying, “I’ve got something better for you.” I really like Charles’ take on prayer! Does prayer really change things? Absolutely! If it didn’t, why would we take the time to do it?
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you! Kevin
Kevin Lough is the minister at the Whitehall Church of Christ in Fairmont WV.