"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things." (Romans 11:36)
Remember, nothing lies outside the reach of prayer but that which lies outside the will of God. Therefore, as much as it is possible for us, we want to know the will of God when we pray!
The apostle John makes an amazing statement: "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." (1 John 5:14-15)
John is saying, if we ask in His will, He will grant our petition. The question then is — if successful praying means praying in the will of God, surrendered to His will.
How Can I Know the Will of God in Prayer?
When you are surrendered to the will of God, focused on the Word of God, then the Holy Spirit begins to pray in you and through you. He energizes, motivates, and guides your prayer. One of the greatest lessons I've learned about prayer is this: the prayer that gets to Heaven is the prayer that starts in Heaven. Prayer is the Holy Spirit finding a desire in the heart of the Father, putting that desire in our heart, then sending it back to Heaven in the power of the cross. The prayer that gets to Heaven is the prayer that starts in Heaven. Our part is just to close the circuit.
Do you fear what God's will for you might be? I'll let you in on a secret: The will of God for you is what you would want if you knew everything from God's viewpoint!
As human beings we can never know everything from God's viewpoint. But we can draw closer. We can begin to see things more from His viewpoint. We do that by abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ. The key is abiding in Him.
What does that mean, to "abide in Him"? In a practical sense, in my day-to-day life, what does that look like?
If you are a child of God, if you have surrendered your life to Christ, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He comes to live in you, to abide in you. Where on earth does God live? Within us. That's union. Yet He seeks not just union but communion with us. Communion means to fellowship with Him, the God who abides in you.
Jesus compared "abiding in Him" to a branch abiding in a vine. The branch receives its nourishment, its sustenance, its very life from the vine. That's how you should be with the Lord Jesus Christ — He becomes a bright, living reality, His Word abiding in you.
God gives you His Word so that you might know His will. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) That's the reason Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it will be done unto you." (John 15:7).
When you get the Word of God in you, the Holy Spirit begins to pray in and through you. You will find you are praying the will of God.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought [Isn't that true? We don't know] but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27)
How wonderful! God will guide and direct your prayers, and you will find yourself praying in the will of God. What you "will" blends with what He wills.
Don't wait until you have all the answers before you pray. You don't have to understand electricity to turn on the lights, remember? The greatest privilege we have is prayer. The greatest failure that most of us have is prayer. The Bible says, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your request be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)
I want to confess that my prayer life hasn't been all it ought to be. I'm not the paragon of excellence. But as a fellow believer and pilgrim, I'm asking with you, "Lord, teach me to pray. Father God, I pray that You would teach us how to pray moment by moment, to pray without ceasing, constantly abiding."