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How do we pray when we don't understand God's plan?

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.

prayer-101-back-downWhen 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.

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. But it's not always easy.

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.

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Linking up with Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus

  • Here in the south, old timers will say God willing and if the creek don’t rise. I agree, it’s His will for people to live and I believed healed and to prosper as their soul does. But that is it, are we allowing Him to prosper our souls. And since He gave us free wills, people will choose evil, unbelief and give up. I tell people about those passing, that they get tired of fighting, sometimes its just His mercy their soul can’t go on, but never give up I know four people who overcome major illness.

  • I have never once heard this concept expressed in this way, but you are so spot on with the idea that we need to be willing to “back down” in faith that whatever God’s answer may be IS the best outcome.

  • Love this post Rachel! The last few years since the stoke,I have begun to use the phrase …Lord willing at the end of my correspondence. I now understand that He holds everything in His hands and there is such comfort in that. Prayer has transformed my life. I am almost finished writing a book about prayer. I am enjoying your series and I look forward to you thoughts next week. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and may God bless you and yours!

    • Thanks, Horace. Your comment means a lot to me. I’ve been sitting here thinking how we have all been through, or are going through different trials, and I don’t want to seem insensitive to others hardships, yet as you say He holds everything in His hands and that is comforting.

  • I’m from the south, and it’s not uncommon at all to hear “Lord willing” after sentences regarding future plans. Never heard the latin version before. Interesting. 🙂 Two great tips…ask for revelation of His will, and ask for wisdom. Look forward to hearing the other tips. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • This is a good word. I, too, try to make plans with the phrase “Lord willing” in mind. I think it’s also important to teach our children to do the same, because none of us really knows what the future holds. Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

  • Love your grandma! These beautiful faithful women who went before us pave the way for deeper faith. I love this reflection today as not my will but God’s will is my only prayer! Thanks for your words!

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