I have a great prayer intention. Before I offer it up, I check out every angle as if I’m purchasing a used car. The tires are sound, because this prayer is absolutely not about me. In fact, it’s the most selfless prayer I’ve ever uttered. It will get great mileage. If answered, this prayer will bring many people happiness—joy—relief—conversion. What’s not to love about this intention?
But there’s a catch. I’ve forgotten to look under the hood and ask, “But is it God’s will?”
There are atheists and anti-Christians who would leap on that question. Aha! If it’s a great intention and God doesn’t answer it, it must be because He doesn’t exist. At the very least, He is a mean God. One who would allow children to get cancer.
Since God is love, it would be impossible for Him to be mean, and I have seen proof of His existence in my life. Still, why would God find fault with such a great prayer intention?
The answer is because He wants the greater good, or the good of us all.
While I’m looking at an isolated need—isolated by the fact that I am human and can only see the a very small portion of the big picture—God IS the big picture. He sees not only my limited world-view, but the intricate way everything I’m looking at touches situations I’m not aware of and people’s lives I wouldn’t even know to consider.
There is an obvious example in the news, a situation where a good man is under attack by ideologists. It’s a crazy situation, and one that seems unbelievable in more ways than one. So, the obvious prayer is for protection for this man. That God help him prevail over his attackers.
But what if, through that man’s suffering, God can bring about the conversion of his attackers?
Since God cares about every soul, I can see which would be His priority, can you? And it’s possible that one of those converted souls may become a modern Saint Paul, bringing many people to Jesus.
If you think that means we shouldn’t pray or be specific with our prayers, that’s not where this post is headed. Instead, my example is a call to Trust. I should pray for the man, but at the same time, I should leave it in God’s hands, because God sees the big picture. So, I offer my prayers with the caveat that His will be done, and I do this with complete trust that He will bring about the greatest good. Usually, it’s something far greater than I have asked for.
If you begin to pray in Trust, your entire life will change. When challenges come, you will be confident that there is a good that will come out of each situation, even if you don’t get to see it. You will stress less, and you might even become excited to see how God is answering your prayers in amazing ways that you hadn’t anticipated.
The point is, we don’t know God’s will. It’s bigger than anything we could imagine. Sometimes our prayer requests fall in line with that will, but sometimes they don’t.
If you learn to trust His will and let go of controlling the outcome, then you will discover that every prayer is answered, and that every answered prayer is for His glory.