Considering God's Will When You Pray

Matt 6:5-10

5 "And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get.

6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.

8 Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.

10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. (NLT)

This message was preached November 3, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com  

When children come to their parents to ask a certain thing, usually there is but one thing on their minds. That is getting what they want. As matter of fact, when the parent explains how they cannot have such and such because it would not be good for them, the child usually does not listen.

I am sure that from the child's perspective the request seems proper. I remember when Victoria was about two years old she said to me one day, we can buy that if you want to. We can take it home today, if you want to. Since then her want tos and mine have not always been the same.

Children seldom consider what the parent's will is when they ask for something. Maturing is the only thing that will change that childish attitude.

Suppose that I told you that your life depended upon weather or not you do God's will today. What if I told you that if you do not do God's will for your life today, you would never live to see tomorrow. What would you do? What would you do today?

In reality that statement is truer than we want to admit. To act contrary to God's will could very well cut your life short. Would the message this morning be more important to you? It would only if you believed and were planning on acting on the message.

  1. Prayer & the Will of God
    1. Only those who do His will are His children.
      1. Matt 7:21 "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. (NLT)
        1. Did you get that.
        2. Not everyone who sound religious is really godly.
        3. You may refer to Jesus as Lord and still not make it to heaven.
        4. The decisive issue is whether or not you obey God.
      2. Mark 3:35 Anyone who does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (NLT)
        1. Those who do God's will are in the family.
        2. Those who do not do God's will are not in the family.
        3. Every family has certain family characteristics.
        4. God's family is marked by a conscious effort to do God's will.
    2. People who are not concerned with the will of God in their prayers have no claim on God to answer their prayers.
      1. People pray for all sorts of reasons.
        1. Some people pray because they are supposed to pray.
        2. Some people pray when they are in a tight spot and they need help.
        3. Some people pray to know God's will and to get close to the heart of God.
      2. Why do you suppose God chose David to be king.
        1. Not because he would never make a mistake.
        2. Not because he would win every battle.
        3. He chose David because David was a man after God's own heart.
        4. Now where and how did that happen?
      3. Great men and women of God were people of prayer.
        1. They desired to do God's will and so He revealed it to them.
        2. They learned to wait on God and then to obey.
    3. Jesus most difficult times in prayer were marked by the desire for the Father's will to be done.
      1. Matt 26:42 Again he left them and prayed, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done." (NLT)
        1. As Jesus faced the darkest hour He prayed not my will but yours be done O Father.
        2. As Jesus was about to bear our sins on His holy, sinless, perfect being, He prayed not my will but Yours be done.
        3. Before that hour that would cause or Savior to cry out, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me, He prayed, not My will but Yours.
        4. Now that was not a foxhole prayer.
      2. John 4:34 Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. (NLT)
        1. Jesus' life was to do the will of the Father.
        2. His very life was to finish the work the Father had given Him.
    4. But how do we do in this area.
      1. Sad to say many people are like little children.
        1. If you would play my way God, then I quit.
        2. We fight with the brothers and sisters because they do not think we are the center of the universe.
        3. Many think life is all about them.
        4. They sit and want to know what the pastor and the church or the deacons are going to do for them.
        5. Sit and watch some children play, it doesn't take long to see which ones are spoiled.
        6. A spoiled child is one who doesn't care what the other children or even his father wants because his own will is most important.
  2. Considering God's Will
    1. How often do we contemplate the will of God for us?
      1. God's will for you is imperative.
      2. God's will for you is more important than anything else you will ever do.
      3. Your eternity depends on you knowing and doing God's will.
    2. But the good news is that God is patient and forgiving.
      1. He will still let you in on His will for your life if you really want to know.
      2. Now if you do not want to know, He is not going to bother telling you.
      3. And the scary thing is that He really knows your heart.

Can you really pray, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Remember what we preached a few weeks ago? If you are not a believer, God's will for you is that you be a believer. If you are a believer, God's will for you is that you be a disciple. And if you are a disciple God's will for you is that you make disciples. How are you doing?

But some say but pastor I am retired. Oh, I don't remember seeing that in the Bible. You see you cannot retire from being a Christian.

Now maybe you are saying, well how should we pray? What is God's will for my life.

First of all it is not that hard to understand. I think it was Mark Twain who said, "Its not he things I don't understand in the Bible that bother me, but the things I do understand."

When we stand before God on judgment day, we will not be able to plead ignorance.

You have but one goal in life.

Find out what God wants you to do and then do it.

But first and far most you must desire to know God's will for your life.

John 7:17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. (NLT)

Ps 25:12 Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. (NLT)

Hosea 6:3 Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." (NLT)

John 8:47 Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God. Since you don't, it proves you aren't God's children." (NLT)

Ps 25:14 Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant. (NLT)