1. THY WILL BE DONE?
You should NEVER pray “Thy will be done” – it totally ROBS your prayer of it’s power!
The first objection most people raise is “Well, in Luke 11:2 Christ TELLS us to pray “Thy will be done”!” But read the exact quote and see for yourself if that’s what He said to do!
Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
“Thy will be done” is NOT an isolated phrase – it is part of a sentence! Christ was not saying “I want bread, I want forgiveness, I want delivered from evil, but NOT MY WILL, but THY WILL be done”! He was talking about something TOTALLY different! He was saying “I pray for the time when YOUR KINGDOM is here, WHEN your will SHALL be done AS IT IS DONE IN HEAVEN”!
Do you really think God NEEDS your permission to do His will? Remember, His will IS WHAT IS ALREADY BEING DONE! You are praying to CHANGE His mind. You are asking Him to do YOUR will instead! If you say “I want bread, but THY WILL BE DONE”, what you are saying is “This is what I want… no wait, ignore me… Do YOUR WILL, what you would have done anyway, instead!” He will do what you ask; ALL that you ask – including asking Him to ignore you!
There is only ONE prayer ever recorded where someone asked something, then said “But not MY will, but YOUR will be done”. And it’s one of the only Prayers from a righteous man that was ever IGNORED – BECAUSE THE PERSON ASKING WANTED IT IGNORED!!
Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder….
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless NOT AS I WILL, but as THOU WILT…
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, THY WILL BE DONE.
Christ got down to the wire and didn’t like this idea! This didn’t sound like as good a plan as it had up in heaven! And so he asked for a way out – another way. IF CHRIST HADN’T ASKED GOD TO IGNORE HIS PRAYER, YOU WOULD HAVE NO SAVIOUR!
Christ had still never sinned! He could punch the red button at any time and abort the mission! He, Himself said so!
Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Christ DIDN’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH WITH THIS! And so, when He prayed and asked God to let the cup pass from him – to not go through with the sacrifice – God would have done it!
HOWEVER, Christ said THIS is what *I* want, but do what YOU want instead – Because he KNEW this wasn’t what God wanted, and you’ll notice, this is the ONLY prayer Christ ever prayed that WASN’T ANSWERED!!
So if you are praying for something that you know won’t happen – if you KNOW it’s not His will, then pray “Thy will be done” – because that means “Don’t listen to me”! But otherwise, keep in mind that the ONLY REASON you are praying is to ask God to do YOUR will!
2. WHEN NOT TO PRAY
If you have been reading our other articles, such as The Shocking Truth About Prayer, then you have learned that prayer is to teach you HOW to make righteous judgments, using the POWER OF GOD. So are there times when you shouldn’t USE that power? When your judgment should be to do nothing?
Let us take for example a prayer request from an online list. You know nothing about the person. You don’t know why this happened to them – you don’t know if they’ve repented of the cause – basically, you can’t make an intelligent decision about WHAT should happen at all.
Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Remember, the primary purpose of prayer is to teach you how to make good judgments. If you make a judgment to ask God to heal someone like this poor person – that can’t be a GOOD judgment because you have NO IDEA what should be done!
Let’s say you were building a house – you’d been building houses all your life – and one day, a friend of yours walks up – who knows nothing about building houses. Now you had made a comment once, in an unrelated conversation, that you appreciated his opinion. So now he feels that you would be offended if he didn’t tell you how to build your house. So he immediately starts saying “I want that rafter put over there!”, and “Hey, that pipe is in the wrong spot!” or “Are you sure that isn’t upside down?”. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long before you either ran him off the job, or started ignoring what he had to say.
This is because this person wasn’t making good judgments, which was because he was talking about something ABOUT WHICH HE KNEW NOTHING, and basing his opinions on GROUNDLESS EMOTIONS AND NOT FACTS AND EXPERIENCE! And therefore his opinion was of NO VALUE to you WHATSOEVER!
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
This applies to prayer directly! If you haven’t got enough information to make a well thought out decision, BASED IN THE LAW OF GOD, STAY OUT OF IT!
3. WHEN TO PRAY
You should pray WHEN… and ONLY when… you can expect a DEFINITE, SPECIFIC, answer. If you are praying for something, and YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IF GOD ANSWERED IT OR NOT, then you are probably not praying for the right thing!
4. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU PRAY
We see examples of people in scripture praying 3 times a day. We see examples of people praying all night, and sweating blood. Most of the world believes you must pray at least once a day. Many believe you should pray 30 minutes, morning and evening. Some, more devout people, say an hour… They’ll tell you that “this helps you get to know God”.
That is absolute NONSENSE! Something that has been utterly made up and originates in the mind of Satan The Devil!! God doesn’t want you praying to Him just for the sake of praying! He doesn’t want you to pray to Him unless you have something to say!
If you were to get up, every morning, and talk to your dad for 30 minutes – and the same amount before you went to bed at night – saying something like “Hey dad, take care of my brother, and dad, take care of my sister, and keep an eye on mom, and don’t forget to go to work today, and thank you for giving me life, and thank you for feeding me all these years, and thank you for keeping me healthy, and….”
And then you go on for about 29 more minutes… and your dad never says anything in reply… and you say something similar EVERY SINGLE DAY… I ask you two questions; HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY HELP YOU KNOW HIM?? How can a rambling, one-sided conversation help you know your dad?? At best, it helps you talk things out – but talking to a TREE STUMP would do help you do that!
And how can your dad POSSIBLY NEED TO HEAR THESE THINGS EVERY DAY?? Was he not going to take care of your brother and sister and mother?
Matthew 6:28-30 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Isn’t he going to do this… Just as he did yesterday, and every day before you were even born?? Was he not going to go to work and earn a living to provide you with food – just as he had always done?
And wouldn’t it annoy your physical father to hear you say these same things to him every day, twice a day – until, if he decided against using a roll of duct tape on you, he just tuned you out? IS GOD ANY DIFFERENT?
Has not God ALWAYS cared for your family? Did He not take care of your mother before you were born?? Is He so senile that he needs your constant reminder to do the basic, simple things HE HAS ALREADY PROMISED HE WOULD DO??
You should pray to God WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. IF you need something special, or know someone who needs something special, SAY IT! If it means praying 18 times a day, SAY IT. If you’ve got a problem you need to solve, or something you need, God wants to hear it.
On the other hand, If you just want to nag him to remind him to do what he’s already doing, God isn’t interested. If you’ve got nothing but the same old lines to say, you need not pray at all! God probably still remembers your last prayer!
How is the scenario outlined above different from what the Catholics or the Buddhists do, by saying a certain prayer OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
Matthew 6:7-8 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
You may not be saying a hail mary, but if you’re asking God to do the same thing every time you pray… are you not repeating something for no reason? Unless God is deaf, or exceedingly forgetful, you need not repeat yourself constantly!
Prayer is NOT an end, in and of itself – it is a TOOL! And like all tools, is to be used WHEN YOU NEED IT! You don’t carry a hammer around everywhere you go, because you like holding a hammer – at least, normal people don’t – you carry a hammer when you’re building a wall! When you need to use it, you use it – the rest of the time, it sets in your toolbox! So use prayer when you have something you need! As often or infrequent as that is!
5. WHY GOD HIDES
Have you ever noticed how sometimes, God may answer a prayer OBVIOUSLY, and quickly – and other times, he may answer it slowly, and subtilely? Did you ever wonder why that is? Do you suppose there is a reason?
Case in point; you need a dollar. So you pray, and you ask God for a dollar. Now, God can answer your prayer in several ways. A dollar might immediately pop into your hand. God is able to do this. Or, you pray, and someone knocks on your door while you are praying, hands you a dollar without a word, and you never see him again. Or, about 2 hours later someone pulls up to your driveway and offers to buy some junk in your yard for a dollar. Or, you might drive to the store the next day and see a dollar in the weeds when you get out of the car. Or you may just get tired of waiting, go out, get a job, and you find it’s surprisingly easy, and get your dollar that way.
God might have been involved in all of these cases! And I’ve heard of or witnessed most of these happening – with slight variations. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Why did God answer the same prayer differently each time? A reason such as “God works in mysterious ways”, is just a cop-out way of saying you don’t understand and aren’t really interested in trying to understand! We want ANSWERS, SOLID, TRUE, REASONS WHY GOD DOES THINGS!
And so here the answer is. When you ask for a dollar, and immediately, one pops into your hand – what is your first thought going to be? “Whoa… God must be happy with me! This is all I need to do to please God!”
Likewise, the people who are around you who see it will think “Wow! I need to act exactly like him to get God to hear my prayers!”
John 9:31-33 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
And here is the key… UNLESS YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS – UNLESS YOU ARE A SHINING, BRILLIANT EXAMPLE OF A MAN OF GOD – GOD DOESN’T DARE ANSWER YOU THIS WAY!!
If you pray without being a shining example that men could look to and emulate – a man that God could feel COMFORTABLE BACKING UP with HIS POWER – Then God has to HIDE, if He is to answer you at all!
You see, if you pray for a dollar, then go out, get a job, get your dollar, then tell your friend “God heard my prayer and gave me my dollar!” he’ll say (or at least think)… “Oh yeah? Well, maybe He did, or maybe He didn’t!” Regardless of what you might think, there is no proof – after all, you’re not the first person who was ever hungry and got a job! God might not have been involved! And so, to answer your prayer IN THIS FASHION, you don’t have to be QUITE the shining example that you do to have the dollar materialize in your hand!
On the other hand, if the dollar materializes in your hand – in the presence of witnesses – and you tell your friend “God gave me a dollar”, and describe the circumstances – they cannot argue. God MUST have been involved! And God has no way to hide – so in order to answer your prayer in this way, YOU MUST BE SOMEONE HE IS PROUD OF!
And so if your prayer isn’t answered as obviously as you like, it’s because God is ASHAMED of you – He doesn’t feel like proudly boasting to everyone “Yep, that’s my boy!” Whereas, He WAS ready to answer Christ’s prayers with power, with obvious signs and workings – and God, the High and Lofty One Who Inhabits Eternity, was PROUD to call Him His Son!
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
WILL YOU SETTLE FOR LESS THAN THIS??