Tag Archives: pray

Exploring God’s Will

God’s will is what He wants to do, which is primarily to keep us from destruction through salvation. This is His plan for mankind. In the process, He desires for us to be obedient, rejoice, pray, and spread the good news to others. Although we tend to think God’s will is actually some kind of grandiose plan for our lives, we should instead focus on helping God see His plan for mankind through to completion.

“Will” is defined in two ways in the Greek translated into the New Testament:

  • Strong’s G2307, thelēma, a determination; choice; inclination: – desire, pleasure, will. (John 6:40)
  • Strong’s G2309, thelō ethelō   to determine; choose or prefer; to wish, be inclined to; to delight in: – desire, intend, list, love, mean, please (Matthew 9:13 – desire;  Matthew 15:28 – wish; Matthew 26:39 – will; Mark 12:38 – like; Galatians 5:17 – please)

So, God’s will can be something He desires (as in Matthew 18: 12-14) or His plan for mankind (i.e. Matthew  26:42 or John 6:37-40).

Some of God’s desires:

  • That none are lost (Matthew 18: 12-14)
  • Obedience, not legalism (Matthew 9:13)
  • Our good deeds so we’ll silence the foolish (1Peter 2:13-16)
  • We rejoice and pray continuously (1Thessalonians 5:16-19)
  • We preach the Gospel/make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)

About His plans:

  • They’re just that – HIS plans. Helping should be our focus.
  • Can be progressive – not always immediately accomplished!

Benefits of partnering with God to accomplish His plan:

  • Redemption and forgiveness; the reward of everlasting life (John 6:40) & (Ephesians 1: 5-13) & (Hebrews 10: 35-36)
  • God works for the good of those who love him; for it is God who is at work in you (Philippians 2:12-13)
  • The Spirit and His intercession (Romans 8:26-28)

How do we participate in His plan and accomplish His desires?

  • Be obedient
    • Do His commandments (1John 5:3 and Matthew 22:36-40).
    • Obedience is more important than works or sacrifice (Matthew 9:13).
    • Abstain from sexual immorality (1Thessalonians 4:2-4).
    • Be an ‘imitator of God’ (Ephesians 5:1-20).
  • Allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).
  • Live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
  • Seek His kingdom first; this requires submission (Matthew 6:33).
  • Obey our leaders and submit (Hebrews 13:17).

How can we learn of the things we’re to do in accomplishing His will or in learning of answers to our requests?

  • The Bible teaches principles that help in decision-making (2Timothy 3:16-17).
  • Ask for wisdom (James 1:5-6).
  • Seek wisdom (this can be from family, friends, spiritually-mature, etc.) (Proverbs 13:10).
  • Pray!!!
  • Use a ‘fleece’ as Gideon did (Judges 6:36-40).

We can hinder the accomplishment of God’s will or desires – even for us – through:

  • Bad motives (James 4:3).
  • Bad relationships (1Peter 3:7).
  • Unrighteousness due to disobedience and the lack of the Spirit (John 9:31).
  • Not allowing God’s timing (i.e. as Abraham did).

Summary: God has a plan for mankind: salvation through the Christ. He also desires fellowship and obedience from us in a pursuit of holiness. We can join in and help accomplish God’s plans or desires, or we can rebel and keep Him from using us or even answering our own requests. Of course, this rebellion will result in death.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of Prayer

Payer is definitely one of the most powerful, but misused, tools in a Christian’s arsenal. For most, it’s a one-way request for stuff or a spontaneous cry for help. We like talking to God when we want something. We like thinking that God is just hanging out waiting for our requests despite the condition of our heart, practice of sin, or lack of faithfulness in the covenant we are supposed to be in with Him through the Christ.

What is prayer . . . really? How should it be used? It’s necessary for us to communicate our thanks, desires, needs, and requests on others’ behalf to our Father of Spirits (God the Father). We do this by the Holy Spirit and through our Christ who intercedes with God on our behalf.

Toward that end, we’re taught how to pray by Jesus who gave a model – a template – for prayer (what we call the Lord’s Prayer) (Matthew 6:9-13).

That model teaches us what to pray (ACTS): Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. It also shows us how to pray.

  • Trust and don’t be anxious (Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:6).
  • Ask with the right motives (i.e. to fulfill God’s desires and plans) and keep asking (1John 5:14; Luke 18:1-7).
  • Be specific! The effort shows intent and helps to see God at work.
  • No rote, repetitive prayers; pray in private (to ensure it’s from the heart and without pride) (Matthew 6:5-8).

So, what is the role of the Spirit and our Christ in this prayer/connection? Communicator, helper, and intercessor (Romans 8:26-27).

Let’s look at a few things that will enable our prayers as we exercise faith and obedience:

  • Ask with the right motives.
  • Keep asking and don’t lose heart.
  • Living right and be obedient (1John 3:21-22; John 15:7).
  • Walking by the Spirit.

Contrary to unbiblical thinking and teaching that proposes God is waiting with bated breath to hear and answer every prayer despite our lack of participation in covenant, there are certainly things that can keep our prayers from being ‘heard’ or answered. The following list can basically be summed up under a heading of, “The lack of a right heart/intent”:

  • Impure motives (James 4:3).
  • Bad relationships (1Peter 3:7).
  • Lack of repentance and reconciliation (Psalms 66:18; Matthew 5:23-24).
  • Disobedience (lack of the obedience shown in scriptures above).

Summary: Jesus gave us a template to pray by in our Adoration of God, Confession of anything we do in opposition to His ways, in Thanksgiving for His mercies, and in Supplication. Ask with the right motives and keep asking. Wait. Trust. Be righteous and holy to enable, and not inhibit, prayer. And, always remember that we should want what God wants; it has always been, and always will be, about Him!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!