Not My Will But Yours


James tells us that “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16), and we all know that this is not a guarantee that God will give us what we want all the time, or ever. Yet there are still times when God is approached with childish (not childlike) attitudes, with prayers that demand acceptance. This is not the example that is set for us. We should not approach the throne with the intent for God’s will to bend to our desires, but rather with the understanding that God knows vastly more than we ever will and He knows what the best path is for every person.

This is not to say that He does not hear our petitions because “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). How can we ask something according to His will? How can we know the will of God? Let’s look at what Jesus says about being anxious about having what we need to live: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). When we bring our requests before God consider if it fulfills God’s desire for His kingdom, whether it is something that is according to His righteousness. What would be our response if He denied our prayer?

Jesus, in His final moments, asked God to find another way. “And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). We don’t know how long He prayed. We do know that this was a hard moment for Jesus. He prayed in earnest for something, yet He knew that God’s will was paramount. He, the son of God, understood that what He wanted may not have been the best thing. Yet He still prayed.

“Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). It is not man’s will that ultimately prevails, but Gods. It is important to go into our prayers with the knowledge that no matter what God’s answer is, that it is His will that is being accomplished, not ours. We must ensure that our prayers and our lives are glorifying God, so consider how to approach God in complete submission to His will.