Dont feel guilty about struggling to accept God's purpose. Remember that he has good intent toward you.

Last week, we started our Prayer 101 series by discovering how to pray “not what I want, but what you want”. We began with asking God to reveal his good and perfect will, and for his wisdom. Today we look at three more steps to backing down in prayer.

I am well-acquainted with being at odds with God’s will.  It took me a long time to accept God’s intention was for me to live in the States. Silly really, because I had asked him to show me, and he did.

For many years, I prayed to move back to England. You may wonder, if I wanted it so badly, why my husband and I didn’t pack our bags and go home.

Our financial situation restrained us. We could hardly pay the bills to take care of a growing family, let alone fulfill the cost of relocation.

Don't feel guilty for struggling to accept God's purpose. Remember that he has good intent towards you, so you can back down in prayer.

However, there was a significant moment during those painful years of prayers.

At one point, my husband’s job enabled us, with three children under the age of three, to live in London for six months. I thought we would make it permanent. Our plans did not come together.

So we prayed—specifically: “God if you want us to go back to America, we can only do it if we have a green card.” Our visas had expired. My husband’s company was highly unlikely to pay for this immigration status. “We’ll never get them,” I thought, “we are meant to stay home.”

The company replied: Yes.

I had asked.  He had answered.  Yet, still I struggled.

Along the way I’d forgotten God’s desire was to give me a hope and a future.

We shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about our struggle to accept God’s purpose.

Perhaps, like me, you know God’s plan, yet you are grappling to stay in line with God’s desires.

This is temptation, not sin.

Jesus struggled, too. But the Son of God demonstrated our next three ways to back down in prayer.

3. In prayer, tell God you are willing to give up your own desires.

You’d think, because Jesus was God in the flesh, he would have found it easy to follow through.

However, his human-ness was evident when he prayed in the garden before his arrest.  Maybe it’s because he didn’t want to be laughed at, to have people spit in his face, to be beaten, to have nails driven through his hands and feet, and to experience a slow painful death.

Jesus didn’t want to go through that for people who hated him. How ludicrous.

Perhaps Jesus was tempted to use his power to overcome his oppressors, just like he had been tempted in the wilderness.

Whatever Jesus wanted, it didn’t correspond with God’s will, that’s why he struggled.

It’s okay to struggle—and ask if there is another way out.

But, not my will, Jesus prayed.

4. Ask God to give you an a-ha moment about your situation.

If God’s plan and your goals don’t line up, ask him to change your desire. Seek his kingdom, then everything will be added to you—everything else will fall into place.

Is it easy? No, Jesus attested to this. God knew this. Why else did he send an angel to strengthen Jesus?

We have to understand and see God’s good intent. Then, like Jesus, you can choose to do God’s will. In the end, Jesus said, “See, the hour is at hand.”  He knew it was time for God’s great salvation love story to be put in motion.

5. Ask other people to pray with you and for you.

Jesus asked his friends to pray; they fell asleep. If someone has asked you to pray, don’t be that kind of friend. Be one who prays fervently.

Remember, Jesus is interceding for you and you have the Holy Spirit to help you.

The foundation of prayer is not what I want, but what he wants. Are you able to accept, your will be done?

Just as I eventually came to accept that God’s will was for us to live in America, you have a choice to make.  Waste your energy as you continue to struggle.  Or back down in prayer and believe in his good and perfect plan for your life.  As Corrie Ten Boom said,

The center of his will is the only place of safety. Let us pray that we may always know it.

Is there a place where you are struggling with God’s will?  How can I pray for you to find that place of safety?

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Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Susan Mead at #DancewithJesus, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth

  • I am at odds with God and his will for me. I thought he spoke to me in 2003 to become a teacher which I did. After that I got married and had my daughter. Then in 2009 my husband was fired and in 2010 I had to give up my job to move with my husband and daughter to another state. I taught for one year in a rough middle school before moving again for my husband to another state. I’ve been struggling to find a full time teaching job for 5 years. I think God wants me to be a stay at home so support my husband and let him work his way up the food chain while I raise our daughter. But I don’t want that I want my teaching life back. And all I can get is a substitute teacher position. I want purpose, to have my own classroom. This has made me soooo depressed to the point I don’t know know what to do.

    • Oh Lokey, I felt so sad reading your comment. I know what it is like to give up your career. I did that when we moved to the states with my husband’s job. It was a very hard transition. First, it is important to seek help when you are depressed. Seeing a therapist helped me learn that it was understandable to feel unhappy because of the changes that I had been through with moving, having a baby, leaving my job. It helped me move forward. As for God, I believe he has great things in store for you and he has made many promises to you – like to give you a hope and a future. I know he will give you unexpected blessings. I pray for you – asking God to show you purpose during this time. Hugs.

  • I recently had a relationship that ended (he broke-up with me), tension had developed between us and in that moment I sort spiritual as well as psychological council in hopes of restoration. I prayed to God for His will to be done and He responded.

    The past month has been rather difficult accepting that it is truly over, especially when we were making plans for the future whilst we were together. It is only today after having seen my ex-boyfriend twice in the past week, that I realised that I had prayed for it, not for the breakup specifically but for God to reveal whether it is in His will for us to be together and build a future together. Whether He approved of the relationship and whether our union will bring Him glory in the future. It is clear now that, that is a definite NO!

    The day we parted ways, I immediately (without hesitation) surrendered to God’s will and committed myself to the process. I have to be honest it hasn’t been easy and I wanted to give in to my flesh and abandon all operations, but thank God for the Holy Spirit who guided, comforted and reassured me that ALL THING WILL WORKOUT, FOR MY GOOD (Romans 8.28), and that God is CREATING A NEW THING (Isaiah 43:18). MY LATTER DAYS WILL BE GREATER THAN MY FORMER DAYS (Haggai 2:9), the best is yet to come. I have fixed my eyes on what’s before me, I acknowledge that it is a process and that I should be patient with not only God but myself too. Reading your post has just been another confirmation for me that ALL that God does is in my best interest, and that should not only rejoice for His yes’ but His no’s too.

    Thank you for sharing…

    • Bolpelo, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to read about the pain of the last month. Break ups are not easy, especially when it happens to us. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to comfort and reassure you as you seek to do God’s will. You faith is strong and you are like a firmly planted tree. When the storm passes you will still be standing and then you will flourish.

  • Thanks sister for that sharing. Though it’s some years back, it is still powerful in Jesus name.
    I am a pastor by calling and a senior secondary School teacher by profession. God called me into pastoral work when I was teaching. I did both at ago but with time, I lost peace in teaching and my desire was to concentrate on pastoral work. I resigned from the teaching job and went for pastoral work for two years. The situation was not easy financially . I had a family, school fees and the ministry needs. The situation got tough and I was forced back to teaching since last year July. Financially I got somehow relieved but as I write right now, my peace has again gone. My conviction is to do full time ministry. I am tied up. Pray with me as I pray for myself.

  • I’m struggling right now beyond belief! Like you I desperately want to move back to England and have been praying for over a year. I feel in my soul that I am mean’t to go home, so it is very painful that it isn’t working out, i.e., relocation, job, money. To make matters worse I went home for a visit and I when I had leave I just felt stronger about moving back. I have now prayed the way you suggested. If it isn’t meant to be then I need this desire lifted because it is making me miserable.

    • Laura, my heart goes out to you because I know how you feel and how difficult it is. But, I also know pouring out your pain to your heavenly Father is the best thing you can do. I used to find going home and then having to come back was really hard, too. I would come back and feel numb. It would get better, though, but I would expect to feel really miserable for about a week until I got back into the swing of things. My prayer is God will show you the wonderful plans he has for you. Hang in there, sweet friend.

  • Boy, I needed this today! I have been blogging for 5 Years, justdotoday.org. And, still I struggle to write and remain in His will. “I” keep thinking – what I should do is just get a full time job. But, every time I entertain in earnest this scenario, He convicts me to stay close to Him. It would be so much easier if I knew where I was going with all this, what the end would look like and how it will all weave together. Thank you for the reminder that it is OK to struggle against God’s will.

    • Sometimes I think the greatest battle is when we’re doing God’s will – because the enemy is trying to stop us from doing it. Keep staying close to God, Elizabeth. I pray that God will show you where you are going. I’ve read your story on your blog. You have amazing strength.

  • oh, I have had many times when God’s will was not my will…and it always worked out for the best when my will got in line with His!! Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

  • Gonna chew on this for a bit: Perhaps, like me, you know God’s plan, yet you are grappling to stay in line with God’s desires.

    This is temptation, not sin.

  • This sort of thing happened to me recently. I was struggling with God’s will for a situation in my life. I explained it to my mentor and she gave me some harsh advice in love that was fairly soul crushing. Like go home and cry and pray for a couple of hours afterwards crushing. I knew what she had said was true. But the more I prayed the more peace I had about not necessarily following her advice. 2 days later, she sent me a note saying God was revealing to her that her initial advice might not have been appropriate for my situation… Great post! Blessings!

    • Liz, sorry you had to go through that pain. But, how wonderful God confirmed to you and through the u-turn from your mentor what his will was for you. Hugs to you.

  • I too had a situation where I prayed and God’s kept giving me the green light, yet I hesitated. I just love how God will work through our sins, hesitations, wondering to still lead us to His will. Thanks Rachel!

  • Yes, it is ok to struggle, to invite God right into the midst of our wrestlings, to lean forward into the questions. Because we so adore the Holy One who holds all the answers in His hands …

    Thanks for these encouraging words, Rachel …

  • My mother used to ask me what was wrong with me and I’d say I didn’t know. Well, I was miserable because I wasn’t following His lead, I thought I was, but His plans are better.

  • As a mid twenty-something, this is so real for me and the majority of my friends right now. But you’re exactly right. God can be trusted because his desire is to give us a hope and a future — no matter what happens. Thanks for this beautiful reminder! #livefree

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