I recently read an interview with U2 front man–Bono. In the interview he was asked what he prayed for. He responded that he and his family pray to know the will of God.
How often do our prayers consist of a laundry list of things that we would like God to do for us? How often do we pray about being in tune with God’s leading and calling on our lives?
Sometimes we need to pray about life circumstances or for emotional strength in the face of adversity. Sometimes we need to pray for the well-being or healing of others. But we should always be about praying for God to align our wills with his will, even in the midst of trials.
Praying is meant to be conversational. Conversations involve talking and listening. In our prayers it is important for us to sit quietly in contemplation of God, allowing him to bring to our minds the things about which prayer is needed.
As God brings things to our minds and places things on our hearts, we should desire to see God’s will be done in each circumstance. As Christians we are to be about the business of furthering God’s Kingdom, not our own egos or luxuries. Therefore, when we pray to know God’s will, we are praying about how we can bring him honor and glory in all circumstances.
So how do we know God’s will?
Below are several suggestions that will prepare us to recognize God’s will and to understand his convictions on our hearts as we pray.
- Pray Scripture. When we recite Scripture in prayer it helps put our hearts in tune with God’s will, allowing us to more readily perceive his convictions on our hearts.
- Think of a quick prayer you can say when you are in difficult or stressful situations that will aid you in focusing on God and not the problem at hand. For example: “Lord give me strength.” This kind of short prayer will help you calm down and approach the situation in a more level-headed manner. It will also quickly remind you to focus on God and his strength in the midst of whatever you are going through. Once you focus on God, it is easier to quickly perceive his conviction or guidance in the moment.
- Spend time reflecting on what has transpired in your day or recently in your world. Reflective prayer will allow you to think about what God has done in your life, what he has shown you through others, and it will allow you to piece together a map for what God is potentially leading you to do next. This kind of reflection also provides opportunities for you to thank God for the specific blessings and learning experiences that he has orchestrated in your life.
When we pray for God’s will, we are reminded of our need to confess our sins. When we confess our sins, we are not asking for Christ to shed more blood for us. He already paid the price of our redemption on the Cross. He already forgave us. When we confess we cognitively acknowledge before God that our actions and thoughts were out of step with his will. It is an act of opening communication between ourselves and our Lord so that he can re-focus our hearts on his calling for our lives.
When we pray for God’s will, it reminds us about the goodness and peace associated with his Kingdom. It allows God to make us aware of the work he is doing in and around our hearts, family, church, community, city, and so on. Knowing God’s will equips us to serve him, to glorify him, and to make him known. It allows us to shine as bright lights in a world full of pain, suffering, and the search for significance.
When we are in tune with God’s will, we are prepared to meet the needs of others and to share his love. When we are in tune with God’s will, we are able to share the Christian Hope.
What are your thoughts about praying for and knowing God’s will? What questions do you have about it?