It begins when we receive Christ as Savior. In thankful response for His gift of salvation, our love for God grows and we long to know Him better. His Word becomes precious because it reveals His heart, character and will. We read, study and memorize it; and express love to Christ by obeying His commandments. As we obey God’s will, the Spirit trains us to think in terms of God’s will; and He reveals Jesus and the Father to us (Jn. 14:21). We increasingly see life God’s way, and learn to think His thoughts after Him.
We come to understand what the will of God is (Rom. 12:2). The outcome? We more frequently pray according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit lives comfortably in us; and through the Spirit, we grow in understanding the mind and will of God.
We begin to think about life as God thinks about life. Events and decisions are evaluated from God’s point of view: According to His will, we begin to think like the Father, thinking His thoughts after Him. We begin to understand what the Father might want in a particular situation. The Spirit enables us to pray in terms of God’s thoughts. The Father answers prayer that is in accord with His will.
The Holy Spirit develops the “mind of Christ” in us, which explains why “righteous” people often pray effectively (Jas. 5:16) and reveals what’s behind the promise, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). Righteous people delight in God and His will. Their lives are committed to doing God’s will. It comes as no surprise they frequently pray according to God’s will.
God “listens” to the entire life of His obedient child. Do you long to be heard? Become passionate about discipleship: Run in the path of His commandments . . . and He will give you the desires of your heart.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 31, To Whom Does God Listen? by W. Bingham Hunter).
Father, I want to live my life committed to doing Your will in obedient submission. Give me good discernment so that I may remove whatever hindrances the enemy has placed in my life that keep me from fully experiencing all that You are. Protect me from the culture of death that is all around me, and which continually competes for my time and attention so that the Holy Spirit has free reign to develop the mind of Christ in me!
Praise God, who teaches you to pray “not as I will, but as you will” (Mt. 26:39). Thank God for his counsel as you set the Lord always before you, thus keeping you from being shaken in any circumstance (Ps. 16:7-8). Confess your struggle with God’s will when you are tempted to fail him as you see the world prospering (Ps. 73:1-22). Commit yourself to God anew today, knowing he holds you with his right hand, guides and counsels you, and will take you to glory (73:23-28). Ask the Lord for the assurance that whenever you come to him, he will never drive you away (Jn. 6:37).
Pray that God’s kingdom will be advanced by your willingness to do whatever God may require of you and to do it joyfully (Acts 21:13-14).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend