Most of the questions we ask concerning life will not be clearly defined in God's Word. For example, there is not a Scripture advising one to marry a certain person on a certain date. However, there are guidelines about marriage and other life events that are perfectly outlined in God's Word. It is up to us to take the time to pray and ask God to reveal them to us.
The Quest for Answers
Prayer not only helps us discover the will of God for our lives, it also deepens our relationship with the Savior. Through prayer, we discover the depths of God's mercy and love for us. It is also where we confess our sin and receive His forgiveness.
Prayer is an opportunity for us to communicate with the Lord of heaven and earth. In prayer, we ask God to do what only He can do. Jesus gave us a pattern to follow in prayer when He prayed what we now know as the Lord's Prayer — recorded in Matthew 6.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth
As it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
Some who read these words have never thought about the fact that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives and that plan is one of hope and future opportunity (Jeremiah 29:11). Prayer provides the right opportunity for God's promises to be embedded in our hearts and minds. And if we trust the Lord for our future, He will provide the strength we need to face life's challenges victoriously.
Joseph spent years confined to an Egyptian dungeon. While he had done nothing to deserve imprisonment, God knew that Joseph's faith needed to be tested. The fulfillment of God's promises would come, but first he had to walk hand-in-hand with the Lord through faith and prayer. Joseph did not avoid personal surrender. He knew that if he did, he would risk missing God's will and purpose for his life.
Learn to Submit Your Will to God
If God has allowed you to settle in a difficult place — pray. But don't just pray for a way of escape. Instead, pray for the Lord to work His good pleasure into your life. If there is a need for discipline, be willing to receive it so that you will experience the blessings of God.
Trying to manipulate the Lord's will through prayer never works. Instead of solving the problem, this can lead to frustration. Therefore, we need to be willing to trust God and wait for His answer.
He Has a Greater Plan
There will be times when we think we cannot face another trial or another minute of persecution. Jesus understands our weaknesses. The night of His arrest He prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" (Matthew 26:42). Earlier, He had taught His disciples to pray, "Thy will be done," so they would know how to submit their wills to God just as He had submitted His.
God knows the hurts, the disappointments, and the frustrations you are facing, but He longs to hear you pray what Christ prayed in the garden the night of His arrest, "Not my will, Father, but yours." Is this the prayer of your heart?
Can you pray "Lord, it seems that my entire life is turning out differently than what I thought it would? I am frustrated and angry. However, I want to surrender my life to You. Please change the focus of my heart so that it is set on You and not on my selfish desires. Heal the brokenness within my heart and make my deepest prayer to be, 'Not my will, but Your will be done in my life.'"
If you truly want to know the will of God, begin with prayer. If you want to experience a sense of peace and joy that goes beyond anything this world has to offer, take time to pray. Through prayer, you will not only gain wisdom to make the right choice, you will deepen your relationship with the Savior-the greatest gift of all.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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