Q. Hi, I have a friend who watches a lot of TV “preachers”. He told me that when we pray, if we say, “let Your will be done” after we have made a request of God, that will ultimately cancel our prayer. He learned this from one of those televangelists. Where does this teaching come from?? Aren’t we supposed to pray in God’s will? If it isn’t within God’s will for us, why would we want it anyway?
A. The Bible gives ample evidence that God answers our prayers according to our faith. Some people claim that if we agree to let God’s will be done, it shows we don’t have very much faith that we’ll get what we’re asking for and we’re willing to “settle” for whatever He gives us.
This is an incorrect interpretation of passages in the gospels where Jesus says things like, “According to your faith it will be done to you” (Matt.9:29), or “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matt. 21:22). (Remember, in the New testament believe and faith are two forms of the same word.)
As believers we know that God’s will for us should always be preferable to our will for ourselves. There are some things where God’s will is already known, so when we pray for them we don’t have to say, “If it be your will.” For example we wouldn’t pray for a loved one’s salvation, “If it be your will”, because we already know it’s His will for all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1-4, 2 Peter 3:9).
But when it comes to a new pick-up truck or a better job or a date with the good looking person we’ve just seen, it’s better to remind ourselves (God doesn’t need reminding) that God is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). By asking for His will in a matter, we’re not showing a lack of faith, but a willingness to yield our will to His. It means we agree that He knows better than we do what’s best for us. Truth be told, it actually takes more faith to desire His will over ours. After all, we already know what we want, but we don’t always know what He wants.
And most of the time when we say, “If you’re willing” with this attitude He replies, “I am willing” because our Father in Heaven knows how to give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11).