When you pray, do you expect to have your prayers answered? Or do you just throw them out into space not really knowing if they’ll line up with God’s word?
I’ve heard many people that are seasoned Christians add, “If it be your will” to the end of their prayers before they say amen. If this kind of prayer is prayed about “any” situation where God’s will is clearly revealed in scripture, it’s an indication they really don’t know what His will is about a particular issue or they don’t believe and trust Him as they should..
This is what’s referred to as “prayers of unbelief”.
Knowing Him and What He Says
In order to answer the question above, you need to have a basic understanding of God’s nature and His will. Jesus said in John 14:9 that if you’ve seen Me, then you’ve seen the Father. In Hebrews 1:3, it says that Jesus is the expressed image of the Father. In other words, Jesus did on earth whatever the Father would have done had He been here bodily (see Jn. 5:19-21) and He always did the Father’s will.
Regarding prayer, 1 Jn. 5:14-15 AMPC, it says that we can have confidence in Him, knowing if we pray His will (or His word), that He’ll hear us, answer our prayers, and grant them to us as our present possessions. What a promise!
However, in order to pray His will, you have to first know His will, which is His written word. To know His will, you have to do more than just read the bible. You have to study it and meditate on it until it becomes a personal revelation to you or what is also called a “rhema word.”
In other words, God’s living word must become “part of you” at a cellular level until it is normal to have scripture coming to your mind and even out of your mouth every time you encounter a need or have to deal with some issue. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will never contradict the written word or “logos.” Neither will the Holy Spirit ever prompt you to act outside the boundaries of clearly stated principles in His word. But you do need to understand that God has no problem contradicting “our understanding” of His will when it’s incomplete or tainted in any way.
When We Don’t Know His Will
Obviously, it goes without saying that none of us on this planet knows all of God’s will for every situation in our lives or the lives of others. That would be ridiculous and dangerous to assume that.
When we don’t know His will in any matter we should rely on James 1:5-8. It says when we lack wisdom in a matter to ask God because He gives wisdom to all men liberally without faultfinding, but we must ask in faith. If we don’t ask in faith, we should not expect to receive from Him.
In addition to this, not knowing God’s will about important situations we face daily, puts us in a precarious place spiritually. Satan is a real spiritual entity and make no mistake, he is waiting for the best opportunity to kill, steal and destroy from us and our loved ones. The less we know about God’s nature and His word, the easier it is for our enemy to sneak up on us and have his way.
Knowing His Will Eliminates Unbelieving Prayers
2 Timothy 2:15 says to study to show ourselves approved to God, a worker that needs not to be ashamed and able to rightly divide the word of truth. Even mature Christians that have been in the word for years should be able to admit they’ll never know it all (see 1 Cor. 13;9-10).
However, with disciplined effort and time spent in God’s word on regular basis, you should be able to know and understand many of the important doctrines and principles so that you can pray intelligently, accurately, and most important of all, with faith and expectation of an answer.
When you know His will concerning salvation, healing, deliverance, protection, practical life skills, etc, you shouldn’t have to say, “Father if it be thy will.”
In order to bring balance to this I must add something very important at this point. First of all, I do not think for a minute that I know it all about prayer or anything else for that matter. I’m still learning too. But I wanted to add when I, you, or anyone else doesn’t know God’s will about an issue because it’s not been clearly revealed in scripture; it’s perfectly fine to pray your request with “If it be your will!”
Our enemy, the devil, has to be pleased when people that have been Christians for years, even decades, still don’t know God’s word well enough to pray it with confidence and faith because it has not been important enough for them to make it a top priority.
Listen to What You’re Praying
One of the prayers I hear prayed the most often that really disturbs me is this one, “Father, just be with them”.
Well where else is He going to go?
Is He going to pull His Holy Spirit out of that person when He has promised in Mt. 28:28 and Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us, even to the ‘end’ of the age? Did He change His mind for some reason? Or is He going to break His promise to us in Ephesians 1:13 that says, “we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise?” And what is He going to do about 2 Corinthians 1:22? He said He put His seal of ownership upon us as a down payment or deposit to guarantee the full promise of what is yet to come.
This probably sounds like I’m either being critical or hypocritical, not sure which. But I’m simply trying to challenge you to “think” about what you’re praying. God can only answer prayers that are either prayed according to His will or prayers where our hearts are hungry enough to hear His promptings about how to pray correctly when we’re not sure about a situation.
Sometimes, when we pray we may know His will about a situation but He cannot answer until we do our part that opens the door for Him to move in our behalf.The bottom line is this! You can trust Him and you can trust His word. But you can’t do either if you don’t know His word well enough that it makes you think about what you say when you pray.
Serving You Truth,