There are three possible answers to any prayer we pray. God can say:
1) “Wait. There are things that you cannot know. Be still and trust Me.”
2) “Of course. I have heard your prayer and the answer is already on the way.” Or
3) “No. My purposes are larger than what you are currently seeing.”
To pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is to accept all three possible answers in our lives of faith.
There is a word of relationship that comes through this account. Jesus knew the will. He asked for another way. When we know the will, it is not wrong to ask for a different path or outcome. History is filled with examples of the people of God crying out for hope in the midst of judgment. Jeremiah was told to proclaim a word of repentance in the hope that his people would hear God’s voice so that the Lord would not be forced to destroy them (Jeremiah 18:5-12). Hezekiah was told he would die, and he cried out to God to spare him and he was granted fifteen more years of life (Isaiah 38:1-6). There is a provisional will and there is an ultimate will. The provisional will can be altered and the means is prayer. The ultimate will can never be changed, regardless of all the prayer in creation. God would have us commit to the ultimate will and to pray through the provisional will.
Trustworthy God, how awed I am at the love You have for me. You give me hope in the midst of dark trials, forgiveness when I have grieved You, joy in the midst of pain and peace through suffering. There is nothing too great or too small for my heart to cry out to Yours. Thank You for being willing to hear and answer me in the middle of my ordinary every day life. Please give me greater understanding of Your ultimate will as I seek to walk hand in hand with You each day.
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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As you come to the end of the year, lift your voice in praise to the one who is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. Thank him for the tender talks you have had with him over the past year. Confess those times when you foolishly doubted the power of prayer. Commit yourself to maintaining a daily prayer time in the coming year. Ask God to keep you accountable to him.
Pray for God’s kingdom to come in the coming year. Ask that believers throughout the earth will be bold witnesses for Christ so that all people everywhere might have the opportunity to hear the gospel.
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