Prayer To Know The Will Of God
Study 6 KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD – Words of Life Ministries
What Every Christian Should Know by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 143: 1-12)
This psalm is one of the penitential psalms. C. H. Spurgeon describes it as ‘a box of ointment composed of divers ingredients, sweet and bitter, pungent and precious’. In this study we shall consider the heart-cry of the psalmist for grace to know and to do God’s will - ‘Teach me to do your will’ (verse 10).
There is only one thing that really matters in the life of the Christian; it is to know and to do the will of God. This being the case, how important is the theme of this study! To know and to do God’s will was the supreme thing in the life of our Lord Himself - look up and compare Psalm 40:7-8; John 4:34; 17:4; Matthew 26:39.
What does this six-word prayer of David teach us?
1. IT STATES THE FIRST HEART-CRY AND LONGING OF THE TRULY BORN AGAIN SOUL.
Before we become Christians we are not really interested in God’s will. We are only interested in our own will and in going our own way - look up Isaiah 53:6.
But what happens when God in His mercy steps into our life? At once we find ourselves praying the prayer of David - ‘Teach me to do your will.’ For an illustration of this read Acts 9:1-6, and especially notice verse 6.
One of the marks of a truly born again soul is the desire to know and to do God’s will.
2. IT DECLARES THE FACT THAT GOD HAS A WILL, A PLAN, FOR THE LIFE OF EACH OF HIS CHILDREN.
This great truth is declared throughout the Bible and is proved in the experience of God’s people. Take the Book of Psalms, for instance: how often the psalmist prays to know God’s will in order that he might please God! - look up and compare Colossians 1:9; 4:12.
Christian biography also confirms the glorious truth that the Lord has a plan for the life of each one of His children. Anyone who has read the biographies of John Wesley, F. B. Meyer or Billy Graham will surely have recognised this truth.
This means that the Lord has a plan for your life.
3. IT AFFIRMS THAT GOD IS READY AND WILLING TO REVEAL HIS WILL TO HIS CHILDREN.
People often ask the question: How can we know God’s will? The answer is that God is always far more willing to guide us than we are to be guided, for He wants the very best for us, not the second-best. We need to distinguish between the directive and the permissive will of God.
By His directive will we mean that which is His highest and most gracious purpose; by His permissive will we mean that which He may allow and yet not really approve. Often He permits that which He does not desire or commend. I may have God’s highest will for my life.This, and this alone, will be life’s highest purpose and its greatest usefulness. On the other hand, I may make my own plans and insist on my own choice, and He may allow me to do this and even grant me some measure of blessing, but it will be a most serious mistake - look up the solemn words in Psalm 106:15.
This leads us to the question: What are the conditions of knowing and doing God’s perfect will, and how may we know His perfect plan for our life? Does David’s prayer give us any clues?
4. IT INDICATES THE CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET IF WE ARE TO KNOW AND TO DO GOD’S PERFECT WILL.
- (1) There must be a teachable attitude. This is indicated by David’s request, ‘Teach me… ’ It speaks of a child spirit. It tells us that David acknowledged his need to be taught - look up Jeremiah 10:23, and compare Matthew 18:3.
- (2) There must be an intense desire to know God’s will. This also is indicated by David’s prayer.
It was because he longed to know and to do God’s will that he cried out, ‘Teach me to do your will.’ The Bible is full of specific promises to stimulate our desire in this direction - look up and compare Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 3:6; 16:3; James 1:5.
- (3) There must be a willingness to do His will, whatever it involves.
Notice that David prayed, ‘Teach me to do your will’ - not simply, ‘Teach me to know your will.’ He was prepared to do the will of God, whether it was easy or hard, pleasing or painful, and whether it was harmonious with what he wanted or otherwise - look up John 7:17.
These are the three simple conditions that must be met if we are going to seek, to know and to do God’s will. But notice one further thing about this prayer:
5. IT PROVOKES THE QUESTION; HOW DOES THE LORD TEACH US TO DO HIS WILL?
He does it in three ways:
- (1) By the teaching of His Word. In the Bible we have God’s will revealed in general terms and in clearly stated principles. For example, will it glorify God? Will it honour the Holy Spirit? Does it conflict with any clear command? These clear principles give us definite guidance concerning a great many matters. There are matters, however, about which the Bible does not have any specific word for us. Suppose we are in doubt as to whether we should go on a certain journey or buy a certain house - how can we be sure of our guidance about matters this? We can be sure because God guides us not only by the teaching of His Word, but also:
- (2) By the promptings of His Spirit. This is very wonderful! - look up Romans 8:14, and compare Psalm 143:8, 10, 11, particularly noticing the words, ‘Show me the way I should go …may your good Spirit lead me on level ground …For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life… ’ When there is no specific principle by which we may discover guidance, God graciously intervenes and guides us by the prompting of the Holy Spirit who dwells within the heart of every believer - look up 1 Corinthians 6:19. Thus, we have the Guide Himself within. But the Lord also guides us:
- (3) By the overruling of His providence. He guides us through what we call the circumstances of life. He opens and closes doors - look up Revelation 3:8. He hedges up our way so that we cannot do the thing that we planned to do. He causes our thoughts to change to be in harmony with His own thoughts - look up Proverbs 16:3.
These are the three ways in which the Lord enables His children to ascertain His will.
It is important to notice, however, that to be sure of knowing the will of God these three must agree, they must harmonise, and they must all say to us, ‘This is the way; walk in it!’ - look up Isaiah 30:21.
What a wonderful thing it is to have a longing in our hearts to know and to do the will of God! Have you that longing? Is David’s prayer your prayer - ‘Teach me to do your will’? - look up 1 John 2:17.
How to Pray to God? 4 Keys to Praying to God We Shall Know
Prayer is often overlooked by us in our daily life. Often times, we pray before God perfunctorily, just going through the formalities.
Never have we presented our hearts before God to have true prayers, and we just hurriedly come before Him to pray and look up to Him when we encounter some issues.
It is because of such an attitude that we don’t know how to pray to God, even if we have believed in Him for many years. Today, let’s share how to pray to God together.
1. What Does It Mean to Truly Pray?
One day, a friend of mine came to my home and had a gathering with me.
In talking about this topic, she took out a book and read to me: “What does it mean to truly pray? It means speaking the words within your heart to God, and communing with God having grasped His will and based upon His words; it means feeling particularly close to God, feeling that He is in front of you, and that you have something to say to Him; and it means being especially radiant within your heart, and feeling that God is especially lovely. You will feel especially inspired, and after hearing your words your brothers and sisters will feel gratified, they will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, and that what you say represents what they want to say. This is what it means to truly pray”. This paragraph of words allowed me to understand: A true prayer means speaking our heartfelt words to God and opening our hearts to commune with Him about our difficulties, things that we face, and the questions we don’t understand. Through praying to God and drawing close to Him, we understand His will and find the ways of practice. With prayer such as this, we can be clear-minded and enlightened under the guidance of God, so that we can see the true nature of problems more thoroughly. In the meantime, we can feel that God is right by our side; our hearts will feel particularly close to Him and our relationship with Him gradually gets closer. If we always pray to God in this way, our prayers will be after His heart and surely be answered.
2. What Is the Content of Prayers?
Later we fellowshiped about the content of prayers. Many times our prayers before God are dry and banal and we don’t know what to say; we only spew out all difficulties and worries in our life and work to God, not caring whether it conforms to His will or not or whether He will listen to it, we just babble on and on reciting scripture.
As a result, we are unable to obtain the Holy Spirit’s work and our problems can’t be solved.
Is this not ignorant? Actually, the Lord Jesus has long since told us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you”. From this passage of God’s words, we come to understand: Praying is not to seek what we will eat, drink, or wear. God has painstakingly arranged these material needs for us since we came into this world, and there is no need for us to pray for them.
This is similar to a mere child; does he need to tell his parents what he will eat and put on every day? No. All necessaries of his life have been arranged appropriately by his parents.
In many instances, we pray to God, “Lord, I have no a good job, please give me one,” “Lord, I’m being sorely pressed, please give me a chance to make money,” and so on; such kind of prayers is not in line with the will of God.
God has told us what the content of prayers ought to be, “You should pray, step-by-step, in accordance with your true state and that which is to be done by the Holy Spirit, and you should commune with God in keeping with God’s will and His requirements of man. … When you are possessed of this burden, God will surely make you perfect; you should not only pray for the sake of yourself, but also for the sake of carrying out the will of God, and for the sake of loving Him. Such is the truest kind of prayer”. Are your prayers for the purpose of carrying out the will of God? If we pray for ourselves, for the sake of satisfying our own flesh and selfish desires, God will definitely not accept our prayers.
3. What Is the Significance of Prayer?
Concerning the significance of prayer, after our fellowship, our understanding was: Only when we understand why we pray to God and the importance of prayer, will we place great importance on praying and pray with our hearts.
Only when we know the significance of whatever we do, can lots of problems be readily solved.
Then, after all, what’s the significance of prayer? God says, “Prayer is one of the ways in which man cooperates with God, it is a means by which man calls upon God, and it is the process by which man is touched by God’s Spirit.It can be said that those who are without prayer are dead ones without spirit, proof that they lack the faculties to be touched by God.
Without prayer, they are unable to attain a normal spiritual life, much less are they able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit; without prayer, they sever their relationship with God, and are incapable of receiving God’s approval. Being someone who believes in God, the more you pray, the more you are touched by God. Such people have greater resolution and are more able to receive the latest enlightenment from God; as a result, only people this can be made perfect as soon as possible by the Holy Spirit”.
4. How Can We Enter Into True Prayer?
We have just fellowshiped that “What is true prayer?” Then how do we enter into true prayer? God’s words tell us the answer, “Whilst praying, your heart must be at peace before God, and it must be sincere. You are truly communing and praying with God; you must not deceive God using nice-sounding words. Prayer is centered around that which God wishes to complete today.
Ask God to bring you greater enlightenment and illumination, and bring your actual state and troubles before God to pray, and make resolution before God. Prayer is not the following of procedure, but the seeking of God using your true heart.
Ask that God protect your heart, making it able to often be at peace before God, making you able to know yourself, and despise yourself, and forsake yourself in the environment that God has set for you, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and making you someone who truly loves God”.
These words make us understand: We can enter into true prayer as long as we grasp these three aspects: First, we must be quiet in front of God, speaking from the heart; we should never deceive God with words of praise and never cheat Him with falsehoods or empty words. Second, we should pray around actual things and the situation arranged by God.
For example, our practical difficulty is that we don’t know how to practice to be an honest person, yet we pray for God to purify us in that we still have arrogant disposition. So this will be wrong. If we pray this, it proves that we don’t possess the normal people’s thinking.
Third, praying is not to go through the process but to come before God sincerely to seek the related truth and the way of practice, through which we can gain the work of the Holy Spirit and have deeper knowledge of our own corrupt disposition and better understanding of God’s will to save man. Possessing these three aspects of practice, we are able to enter into true prayer.
Our gathering has enabled me to understand the above four aspects of the truth with regard to the practice of prayer. I hope it will help you. Thank the Lord! In the end, I’d to share with you the basic general knowledge of prayer:
“1. Do not blindly say whatever comes to mind. There must be a burden within your heart, which is to say, you must have an objective when you pray.
2. Your prayers must contain the words of God; they must be based upon the words of God.
3. When praying, you cannot go over old ground; you must not bring up things that are outdated. You should specially train yourself to speak the actual words of the Holy Spirit; only then will you be able to make a connection with God.
4. Group prayer must be centered around a core, which must be the work of the Holy Spirit today.
5. All people must learn how to pray for others. They must find the part in God’s words that they wish to pray for, based upon which they must have a burden, and for which they must often pray. This is one manifestation of care for God’s will”.Though I pray to God every day, many times I feel my prayer dull and dry as if the Lord doesn’t listen at all; many times I pray, He doesn’t fulfill my prayers; still many times I have nothing to say when praying.
How exactly to pray to God? I feel confused about that for a long time, and I haven’t find out a way to practice.
Thanks for the Lord’s guidance and the author’s sharing, I understand the significance of prayer, and know how to pray to God with a true heart in order to gain rapid spiritual growth. I have no clue whether you’re also in this state.
If you have any other practice and experience about praying, you’re welcome to leave messages to us or chat with us via the online window at the bottom of the website. We look forward to sharing God’s enlightenment with more and more brothers and sisters, growing together in Christ.
The Key Point to Know so that God Answers Our Prayers
Concerning the Practice of Prayer
How to Pray? 4 Keys to Praying to God We Shall Know was last modified: February 7th, 2019 by Find the Shepherd