Saturday, August 19, 2006
Pray According To God's Will
‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ Matt 6: 10.
God’s will. Sounds restrictive, constricting our independence. South American birds transported across Pacific. One escaped, flew out free as a bird, 2 days later returned to the boat exhausted. No trees in mid pacific!
John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 14:21 The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
Matt 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only]the one who does the will of My Father in heaven
Col 1:9For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
John 8:44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.
1. Doing God’s Will is A Matter of Discernment
Paradox’s: Does prayer work? James 5:16The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
God’s Over-ruling Sovereignty Eph 1:11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, versus Mans Absolute Responsibility 1 Sam 12: 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: 1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. Our praying is part of God’s Sovereign Purposes. When we pray “Thy will” we are rebelling against the world in its falleness.
Other paradoxes: The divine and human elements in: inspiration of Scripture, the mortal/divine Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the working together in sanctification of the believer.
2. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Commitment
Do God’s Will Sincerely John 10:25 I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.
2 Chron 25:2 Amaziah 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
Do God’s Will Entirely 2 Chron 25:2 Amaziah 2 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight but not completely.
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation?
Numbers 15:40 This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your God.
Acts 13:22 After removing him, He raised up David as their king, of whom He testified: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will carry out all My will.’
Do God’s Will Directly Ex 25:40 Be careful to make [everything]according to the model of them you have been shown on the mountain.
Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Dan 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
Do God’s Will Willingly 1 Chron 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Psa 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Do God’s Will Fervently Rom 12:11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.
Seraphim - “burning”
Do God’s Will Constantly Psa 106:3 How happy are those who uphold justice, who practice righteousness at all times.
3. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Enjoyment
Deut 28 “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
2 Cor 6 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. 18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
4. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Empowerment
Ezek 36: 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.
Andrew Murray, great devotional writer: The best place for cultivating patience is in waiting on God. There we discover how impatient we are, and what our impatience means. We confess at times that we are impatient with men and circumstances that hinder us, or with ourselves and our slow progress in the Christian life.
If we truly set ourselves to wait upon God, we shall find that it is with Him we are impatient, because He does not at once, or as soon as we could wish, do our bidding. It is in waiting upon God that our eyes are opened to believe in His wise and sovereign will. We also see that the sooner and the more completely we yield absolutely to it, the more surely His blessing can come to us.
Bill Borden, a young man from a wealthy family who left everything to go into missions to the Moslems in China, only to die in Egypt of cerebral meningitis. He was 25 and by today's values worth $40 million. But in 1912 he gave his fortune away. Five months later in Cairo he died. "What a waste," people said. "It was not the million dollars that came to this young American which made his life a victory and his death a world-wide call to young men and women to learn the secret of that victory. It was in things that every man can share that William Borden found the way to the life which is Christ and the death which is gain. And China and the Moslem world shall yet share that gain, as his burning torch is used to kindle in other lives the first of a like passion for Jesus Christ." It was in things that every man can share that William Borden found the way to the life which is Christ and the death which is gain. And China and the Moslem world shall yet share that gain, as his burning torch is used to kindle in other lives the first of a like passion for Jesus Christ." Among Bill's papers was a poem his mother had given him on his 17th birthday. It summed up what he did and what he was: Just as I am, young, strong and free, To be the best that I can be
For truth and righteousness and Thee - Lord of my life, I come.
Most Americans during the Civil War believed God was on their side. After many military defeats Abraham Lincoln wrote down his private thoughts on the matter in "Meditation on the Divine Will."
"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that is shall not end yet. By His mere quiet power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest continues."
Jonathan Edwards: "Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will."
"Prayer is not so much the means whereby God's will is bent to man's desires, as it is that whereby man's will is bent to God's desires. The real end of prayer is not so much to get this or that single desire granted, as to put human life into full and joyful conformity with the will of God." ... Charles Brent (1862-1929)
C. S. Lewis describes the exchange between self-will and God's will in Beyond Personality (and his words are a challenge to you and to me): "Christ says, 'Give me all. I don't want so much of your money and so much of your work -- I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self instead. In fact I will give you myself, my own will shall become yours.'"
The will of God will never take you, Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you, Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you. The will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you, Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you, Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Everything happens for a purpose. We may not see the wisdom of it all now. But trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best.
George Muller (1805-1898) was a man of God and a man of prayer. Thousands of Christians throughout the years have been inspired by his example of faith and persistent prayer. He once outlined the general method he used to discern God's will. This is good counsel for Christians today in seeking to know God's will when making decisions.
1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in a given matter. When you're ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be, nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome.
2. Having done this, I don't leave the result to feeling or simply impression. If I do so, I leave myself liable to great delusion.
3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
6. Thus, through prayer, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment, according to the best of my ability and knowledge. If my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method always effective in trivial or important issues.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. "An individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness, and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His (God's) will."
When General "Stonewall" Jackson lost an arm in battle, his chaplain exclaimed, "Oh, General, what a calamity!" Jackson thanked him for his sympathy, but replied, "You see me wounded, but not depressed, not unhappy. I believe it has been according to God's holy will, and I acquiesce entirely in it. You may think it strange, but you never saw me more perfectly contented than I am today, for I am sure my heavenly Father designs this affliction for my good. I am perfectly satisfied that either in this life or in that which is to come, I shall discover that what is now regarded as calamity is a blessing.