Knowing God’s Will Through His Word
This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Great light is thrown on the subject, “How to Pray” by 1 John 5:14-15. This passage clearly teaches that if we are to pray correctly, we must pray according to God’s will. Then, we will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, receive the thing we ask of Him. But can we know the will of God? Can we know that any specific prayer is according to His will?
We most surely can. How? First, by the Word. God has revealed His will in His Word. When anything is definitely promised in the Word of God, we know that it is His will to give that thing. If, when I pray, I can find some definite promise of God’s Word and lay that promise before God, I know that He hears me. And if I know He hears me, I know I can have the petition that I have asked of Him. For example, when I pray for wisdom, I know it is the will of God to give me wisdom, for He says so in James 1:5: “ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” So when I ask for wisdom, I know that the prayer is heard and that wisdom will be given to me. In like manner, when I pray for the Holy Spirit, I know that it is God’s will, that my prayer is heard, and that I have the petition that I have asked of Him: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”(Luke 11:13)
Certainly it is our privilege to know. When we have a specific promise in the Word of God, if we doubt that it is God’s will or if we doubt that God will do what we ask, we make God a liar.(1 John 5:10)
Here is one of the greatest secrets of prevailing prayer: Study the Word to find what God’s will is as revealed there in the promises. Then, simply take these promises and claim them before God in prayer with the absolutely unwavering expectation that He will do what He has promised in His Word.
Knowing what to pray is as critical as how to pray. In the model prayer known as The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gives us a powerful order of prayer. As we begin, we rehearse our relationship with God and His position of authority, “Our Father which art in heaven.” As we think about this relationship, we accept the promise that God is our Father and we are His children. Settling the issue of being His child is a pivot point of faith to receive an answer to prayer. If there is doubt as to whether you are a child of God, then there is a doubt to whether He will hear or answer your petition. But when you have the assurance that you are His child, you ask Him as a child and you know that He loves you enough to answer your prayer.
We have talked about praying in the name of Jesus and how our trust and dependence in His name gives us access to the throne of grace. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are to meditate on His name as we begin our prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name.” In the name of Jesus the promises of God are released, for it was Christ who broke down the wall between us and God. We read that when He was crucified, the veil in the temple that had separated us from God was torn from top to bottom indicating that God is now through the blood of Jesus allowing us entrance into His presence. In the Old Testament, the name of God was linked to His promise: Jehovah-Jireh, God my Provider; Jehovah-Shalom, God my Peace, Jehovah-Rapha, God my healer; and so forth. In the New Testament every promise is linked to the name of Jesus; Jesus my Savior, Jesus, my Healer, Jesus, my Provider, and so forth. So in our petition of prayer we come to God recognizing that the name of Jesus opens access to the promises of God.
Now we come to a critical piece of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are asking, before we make any request to God for His Will to be done. How shall we know the will of God? As you pray this piece ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the promises found in the Word of God. It is important to be a student of the Word so that you may know the promises of God. Not knowing the promises of God will keep you from knowing the will of God. The will of God is no secret and it is God’s pleasure to make His Will known to you. If you’re praying about something and you don’t know clearly the will of God in the matter, keep praying for God to make His specific will known to you. Don’t assume that you are left to figure out the will of God on your own. God will always make His will known and most of the time He does so through His Word. To have our prayers answered we ourselves must be in the will of God. Take time to allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and if there are any areas where you are not walking in the will of God as He reveals them to you, repent of your disobedience and begin to walk in obedience to the revealed will of God. It is futile to ask God to make His will known if you refuse to walk in it. And if you refuse to walk in the will of God, how will you know His will for a specific petition?
It is after we pray for the will of God, that the Lord’s Prayer instructs us to pray for our needs: “Give us this day our daily bread.” As we have sought and found the will of God, we now can pray for His provision for we know that it is His will to supply that need “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Then we wait for the answer with expectation and faith because we asked in the name of Jesus and we know we have asked according to His will. Those who pray in this manner can always expect God to answer their prayers.
If for some reason you find your prayers not being answered, go back over the Lord’s
Prayer. Have you believed that you are a child of God? Do you believe that God is sovereign over all? Are you totally trusting in the name of Jesus to give you access to the promises of God? Have you sought and as far as you know, you are walking in the will of God? Is there a specific promise in the Word concerning your request? Have you asked specifically? Are you holding unforgiveness in your heart toward someone? Will the answer you are seeking draw you nearer to God or will it tempt you to stray and will it become a bondage? Have you completely surrendered your life to the Lordship and leadership of Christ, “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”
Finally, do you agree with the will of God and the promises of God for you? If so you can say “Amen” which means “so be it unto me.”
Dr. John Thompson