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Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to Pray God's Will

Praying according to God’s will is not always easy. I just received a prayer request concerning a young boy that suddenly became ill. The loving grandparent wrote, “We pray the Lord will help the doctors figure out what is wrong so they can treat it, or God can divinely heal him.” How do I pray? For the doctors to heal the boy, for God to heal the boy, or perhaps God has a greater plan.

When I have prayed prayers I thought were in God’s will and they were not answered my way, I felt discouraged. That happened to Ted Turner, the founder of the cable news network CNN , and it wreaked havoc with his faith. As a youngster he desired to be a missionary. When his little sister, Mary Jean, died of complications after being sick for five years from a rare form of lupus, he abandoned that idea. Turner recalled, “It just seemed so unfair, because she hadn't done anything wrong. Christianity couldn't give me any answers to that. So my faith got shaken."

I’m certain the apostle Paul also struggled in prayer. He prayed three times the “thorn in his flesh” be taken away. The Lord answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It’s not the answer Paul pleaded for. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

Often we feel incapable to of asking God specifically about securing this job or that job; or about moving here or there; or concerns related to our children, finances and vocational direction. We don’t see the big picture and God’s overall plan and purpose for our situation. God doesn’t answer a prayer the specific way we think He should, and we struggle with prayer.

That’s when Scripture encourages us not to quit praying!  “The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray” (Romans 8:26 NLT).

The powerful word helps occurs here and only one other place in the New Testament. Picture someone carrying a heavy load and another person comes alongside to take the other end and bear the burden with him or her. Imagine your helper being the Holy Spirit!

The other occurence of “help” is when Jesus goes to Mary and Martha’s home and they get in a tiff. Martha’s making all the preparations for dinner while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet listening to Him. Martha bursts, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me.” Martha wanted Mary to help bear her burden.

One bible scholar puts it, “as we pray, the Spirit says, ‘let Me grab the other end. Let me help you by picking up your burden and taking it before the Father’s throne. I know what to pray for when you don’t.”

Therefore, the Holy Spirit takes part with us, not instead of us, and for us “with groaning that cannot be expressed in words…the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (Romans 8:27 NLT). Consequently, our weak prayers become effective.

Our requests and petitions of all kinds to the Father (1 Timothy 2:1), may have a different outcome from what we had prayed. Yet, remember, the Holy Spirit carries our needs and conveys our cares to our loving Father all in keeping with His good, intentional plan and design for us. (Romans 8:28-29) What an encouragement to keep praying!


  1. What a great post to encourage all of God's children to press on in prayer. I was really blessed with what you shared about the Holy Spirit's help in prayer. Thank you!

    1. It's wonderful to be reminded that Holy Spirit prays for us and with us! blessings to you, Kathy.