How do I know if I'm praying in line with the will of God?
First John 5:14–15 says, "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." How can we know if we're praying in accordance with God's will? The Bible is full of instruction and example.
First Thessalonians 5:16–18 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." So, we know praying and giving thanks are God's will.
To follow God's will in prayer, we need wisdom—that is, instruction and guidance from Him. This, remarkably, is available. James 1:5–6 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."
Here are some other things that the Bible indicates are clearly in God's will regarding prayer.
Pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
Pray for missionaries to go (Luke 10:2).
Pray against entering temptation (Matthew 26:41).
Pray for those who minister the Word (Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Ephesians 6:18–19).
Pray for those who are in authority in government (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
Pray for relief (James 5:13).
Pray for healing of others (James 5:16).
Pray for the salvation of Jews (Romans 10:1).
Pray for mercy and forgiveness of your sin (Psalm 51:1–2).
Pray for boldness to tell others about Jesus (Acts 4:29).
Pray for the right motives, even in your prayers (James 4:3).
Pray in secret (Matthew 6:5–6).
Pray to forgive others "if you have anything against anyone" (Mark 11:25).
Pray after you have set things right, or reconciled, with others (Matthew 5:23–24).
Pray prayers of thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2; Philippians 4:6–7).
Pray with persistence (Luke 18:1).
Pray relying on the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 says, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
We can pray trusting that God is for His children. We may not always know what His specific will is, but we can rely on Him to do what is right and best. So we pray in submission to Him, asking for His will to be done (Matthew 6:10). "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
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