Praying God’s Prayers

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 26, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

One of the things the Bible makes clear is that if anything is to be successful, it must be initiated by God and completed by God. Anyone else is doing it in vain, and it will ultimately collapse. This goes with any plans we make, any project we do, and it also goes with any prayers we pray. Jesus said he could do NOTHING his Father was not doing. He also said, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus had a unique way of praying. He only prayed for that which God initiated. And that should be a model for us.

Many of us who strive to pray tend to have a list of our common prayer requests. We pray for our families, our friends, our church, our jobs, our neighbors, the persecuted church. We keep them on note cards that we go through every day or every week. We post them on our walls to keep track of them. I actually take time to go through my topic list for this series and pray about developing my prayer life. These are GOOD things to be doing so do not hear what I am not saying in this next paragraph. God, however, has been taking my prayer life a different direction.

For the last few weeks, I have asked God what he wants me to pray for in preparing for my quiet time. It’s been a very interesting exercise. A number of times, I’ve been rather weak and flabby about it (I’ll address that issue in two weeks). But other times, I’ve had some good prayer sessions with God, when I follow his lead. A while back, before this school year started, I spent a day at my church to just pray. I did not know what to pray for, but God brought up an issue in my life (which I will address near the very end of this series) that has been lacking, and I just poured out my heart to God on the matter. It was not sin, but bearing a frustration of wanting someone to teach me how to do this, and not having anyone other than Christ himself. Another issue God has been bringing to my attention is 2 Corinthians 10:5: “Take every thought captive to the will of Christ Jesus.” He keeps bringing that verse to my attention and I know I need to practice this. I need to learn how to take EVERY thought captive and make it submissive to the will of Jesus Christ. And my mind loves to go many different directions (distractions will be covered next week). But I’ve been practicing asking God what to pray for, before I start praying.

There is a really neat account my pastor gave about this topic. He was at a revival meeting leading worship, and the preacher that night was a healer. He was praying for people left and right and God was moving, healing people left and right. In the back of the tent was an older man who had stage 4 cancer. During this revival meeting, the Spirit of God had descended and filled the tent, miracles were taking place, and this man was in prime position to be the coup de gras, the cherry on top. The man approached the front, the preacher grabbed the man’s hands, and simply stood there for about five minutes doing nothing. My pastor, watching the whole incident from the piano, understood exactly what was going on. In the end, the pastor simply said, “God be with you,” and the man was not healed. He died a few weeks later.

Why did I say this was a neat story? The man did not get healed. What is neat about that? Here is the neat thing: the pastor was in position to follow the hype, to follow the crowd, and to follow what God had been doing the whole evening, but instead he was praying for each individual need and sought God’s will if this person or that person was to be healed. This pastor knew to only pray for healing with those God had said to pray for healing. I have a LOT of respect for this person because he knew to listen to God for each and every circumstance and to not make any assumptions before he moved. I can understand many would have their image and understanding of God be questioned by this account. Why would God not heal this man? Why did he let him die? Let us look at Jesus’ ministry. There were times where Jesus healed everyone. There were times where Jesus healed just one person. John 5 at the Pool of Bethsaida is a prime example. Many people went to the pool to get healed when the water stirred. Jesus was there. Why didn’t he heal everyone? He only healed one person: a cripple.

I cannot give the answer to why God only heals some and not all. But I can tell you that this pastor and Jesus were obedient to God’s will and only prayed what God told them to pray. This is what I am practicing. I am practicing asking God what he wants me to pray about so I can pray for it. I recall another prayer meeting my pastor spoke about. This one was at a home group.

They were praying for a particular need and they were just going and going. Finally, my pastor said they all had to stop praying. He told the group that they needed to quiet down and listen to God. Then God would tell one person to pray very specifically for the need. They waited about an hour and finally one woman spoke up and said, “I think I’m the one that is supposed to pray.”

So many times, we get straight to praying what we want to pray, and nine out of ten times it is about our wishes and our desires. They may be very good intentioned, such as the healing for a person or the financial rescue of another in crisis. Nothing wrong with wanting to see restoration in those circumstances. But how about we ask God what his will is in that situation, BEFORE we start praying. I am finding out more and more that our prayers will be far more effectual and powerful when we do this. Why? Because when we know God’s will on the matter, then we know exactly how to pray about the situation. We won’t have generic prayers that attempt to cover the bases. We won’t have to pray with contingency plans in the back of our minds. We will instead be praying with an engine that has power.

Seek God’s will in every situation. That’s one of the secrets to prayer that I am learning. When you know God’s will in the situation, when you are praying God’s prayers, not only can you guarantee that your prayer will be answers in the affirmative, you can pray in that pure, innocent faith that it will be done. God will never leave a prayer he initiates unanswered. He may not answer our own prayers as such, but if he initiates it, he will see it through to the end. Next week, I am going to write about distractions that keep us from praying or from praying effectively. I’ll be straight up with you here: I’m weak in this area. Then after that, I am going to write about praying with endurance, another issue I need to strengthen.

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