My grandmother would often add a strange little phrase to the end of statements, especially if she talked about her plans.
“We will come and visit you next month,” she would say to my mother, and then tag on: “DV.”
I now know it stands for deo volente, which is Latin for “God being willing”.
As a child, I would think it odd. Why did she need to add: “God willing” to everything she was going to do?
My grandmother was the godliest woman I knew. She prayed regularly and read her Bible daily. It was clear to my young mind she would also aspire to do as God desired.
She always complied with grandad’s wishes. Grandad would bark requests from his chair in the living room. “Dear, where are my slippers?” “How about a nice cuppa, dear?” If she could go along with a demanding husband without complaining, she could easily submit to a loving God.
For those of us who believe God has a specific direction planned for our lives, we also know we can choose between God’s way, or our own way.
So, how do we pray not what I want, but what you want? How do we pray like Jesus and submit to God’s will?
1. Ask God to reveal his intentions.
First, we have to know what God’s will is for us.
When you pray, ask God to show you his way. Search out the answer, not to big theological matters, but your day-to-day issues.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. If it didn’t happen, grandma would just plan to visit the following month.
However, sometimes we face hard situations in life.
When someone we love is dying, when our child is being bullied, when we’re in a frightening situation, I don’t pray thy will be done. I pray: “God, make it STOP.”
Surely, my prayer for the evil to stop is God’s will because then it would be on earth, as it is in heaven.
God’s desire is for good to overcome evil—for the person we love to live, for our child to be happy, for us to walk around and not be afraid.
We know God is able, so it’s hard to understand why he doesn’t follow through.
2. Ask God to give you wisdom.
God’s way can be a struggle to accept. In prayer, don’t be ashamed of or feel guilty for your struggle to accept it.
Sometimes, we are told if good comes out of the evil, then it is God’s good will. My mind and heart stumbles to understand this though.
Yet, if we truly believe God is who he says he is, then we have to accept he knows best. We cannot doubt God is truly good. We cannot question his perfect will, either.
People who do not trust in God can think whatever they like about him, and they do. They accuse God of being indifferent to hardship in the world. They blame him for evil.
Is there something in your life you’re struggling to understand why, if God is able, it’s not his will? This week, pray to know God’s good intentions and for him to give you wisdom.
Join me next week in the Prayer 101 series for the three more ways to back down in prayer.