“And this is the confidence which we have toward Him, that whatever we should ask according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us whatever we should ask, we know that we have the requests which we request from Him.” – 1 John 5:14-15
There is a particular phenomenon that can be found on Facebook. It can be found in other places, but it seems to be quite prevalent on social media. Maybe you’ve noticed it. Maybe you have even participated in it. What is this phenomenon? People asking people to pray about something or for someone. When this is done, it is common for the expected way to pray to be stated or implied. So, a person is asked to pray and told the result for which s/he is expected to pray.
But here’s the problem; what if that’s not what God wants to do? According to the words of John the Apostle from above, the confidence in praying and knowing that God hears us is when we pray what is according to His will.
What about, before praying, we actually ask God what He wants to do in a particular situation and then we pray that? What if praying becomes about what God wants to do and less, or nothing, about what we want? What if praying becomes more about God and less about us? What if the focus of prayer shifts to God and His will, instead of ours?
Sometimes I wonder if the common way that prayer is approached today is more like treating God like a butler or a genie and expecting Him to adhere to our desires and wants than it is about Him.
I know of a long time follower of Jesus who refuses to pray for traveling safety for someone. No, it’s not that he doesn’t care about the person, but it was through an accident while traveling that God got ahold of him. So this man says, “What if God wants to use some type of traffic incident to do something in that person’s life like He did with him? Because of that possibility, I won’t pray for traveling mercies for a person.”
So, before praying, stop and take some time to ask God what He wants to do. Then close the mouth and open the ears, physically and those of your spirit. Understand that this could take some time. God may not speak immediately, but He will speak eventually. Listen to what comes to you. And then pray that.
And when you do that, you will be moving from praying to proclaiming. And then you will see your confidence in praying grow.