How Can I Be Sure I Am Praying According To The Will Of God?
Many Christians see God’s will as a set map for their lives which must be discovered and followed or negative consequences will follow. In actuality, God’s will is very clear in scripture. Romans 8:29 says God has predestined everyone he has called into relationship with himself to be conformed to the likeness of his son. What’s more, his promise is that he can use whatever circumstances we face in life to accomplish his purpose in us (Ro. 8:28). That includes our good choices, our not so good choices, the good and bad choices of others, and even those things we cannot control. These promises are a great comfort to me because I know there are times when I make choices that are motivated by my own selfish interests rather than God’s will, but he knows I am weak (He. 4:15-16) and I trust that he will not give up on me until all the loose ends that are created by my own failure, and circumstances I can’t control, are woven into the perfect tapestry of his plan for me.
This does not mean, however, that we can go glibly on our way without a care, assuming that God will work everything out in the end. Rather, our part is to live in an attitude of dependence on God, making our decisions in the awareness that even as we make our plans, he orders our steps (Pr. 16:9; Ja. 4:13-15), trusting him in every circumstance we find ourselves, and seeking his wisdom to face the decisions and challenges of life in a way that honors him. When Paul prayed for the Ephesians, he prayed that they would be given special spiritual insight so they could know God better, and thereby grasp the wonderful proportions of his love and his ways (Ep. 3:16-19). Perhaps the starting point when we pray to know God’s will is to pray that we will know God. As we grow in our intimate knowledge of him we will grow in our understanding of what is important to him. Increasingly, we will see our lives and our choices through the lens of his values and our attitudes and decisions will be in concert with his eternal purposes.
Pastor Jon EnrightJanuary 1, 2013