by Matt Slick
Sometimes prayer is not so easy. We ask, we seek, we wait, we hope, and we yearn to hear from God. Yet, many times, what we ask for does not come to pass, and our prayers seem to be spoken into the void. But, that can be quite good. Have there ever been prayers that you are glad were not answered? Sometimes our short-sightedness causes us to pray outside the will of God and that is the problem.
When Jesus was praying in Luke 22:42, in the Garden of Gesthemene, He asked the Father, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done." Jesus did not want to go through the ordeal of the crucifixion, and He asked the Father for a way out. His prayer was not answered the way Jesus requested. Nevertheless, He submitted His will to the will of the Father and that is the key to prayer.
What would be a good prayer? Depending on the subject, it would be a request to the Lord to forgive, to heal, to reveal, to intercede, to help, etc. But, and this is important, we must realize that it is not our will that is to be done but God's. We must primarily ask for God's will to be accomplished, not ours. This means that we must enter prayer by faith and accept--in advance--that what we are requesting may not be answered the way we hope it will. We must look to God as the wise counselor and the all-knowing Lord who loves us deeply and who hears our prayers but has a divine plan and purpose for His creation that God will carry out. Therefore, we must not only pray for others, for forgiveness, for healing, etc., but also we must pray that we are moved into the will of God in every area of our lives so that our prayers might more accurately reflect the will of God.
Furthermore, we must ask the Lord to reveal to us anything that we are doing that prevents our prayers from being heard and prevents us from being in His will. We must seek forgiveness for our sins and conformity to God's purpose and plan. Then, our prayers will be more frequently answered.
Are your prayers answered? If not, perhaps you might want to evaluate whether or not you are in the will of God? Perhaps you might want to pray specifically to be in the will of God in your life, your desires, your location, your job, your service, etc. Ask God to speak to you and to guide you into His will.