The Problem With Praying For Gods Will To Be Done

prayer, God's willThe problem with praying for God’s will to be done is that it sometimes makes for a very short conversation.  If prayer really is supposed to be a conversation between we who are God’s children and our heavenly father then it seems to me that there should be more involvement on our part.

I honestly believe, based on what I have read in the scriptures, that God desires to use people to carry out His will.  People are important to God.  Me, getting involved in carrying out God’s will on earth, is extremely important to God.  When I pray for God’s will to be done, that is a start, but it should not be the ending.

If I really examine my motives, sometimes when I pray for God’s will to be done I am actually trying to absolve myself of any responsibility in the matter.  It is as if I am saying “I don’t know what to do, so you take care of it while I think about something else”.

I think the Lord would rather that I pray “God, make me fit to carry out your will and use me for your glory.  I invite you to use me as your instrument and I am here and available for you.”  If I pray this prayer and really mean it, then God’s plan will be carried out and I will be where He wants me to be.

Ultimately, God’s will is going to be carried out one way or another.  He has the final say, He is the author and the creator and His word stands forever.  That won’t change.  What can change, however, is me and my choosing to work together with Him.  Will I be His willing vessel or will I refuse and miss out on a great blessing?

My responsibility when I pray is the condition of my heart and the motivation behind my prayer.  Am I speaking just to hear myself talk?  Am I really asking for God’s intervention in the life of another or am I just trying to get through my prayer list so that I can go on to something else?  My flesh wars against my spiritual nature and wants to have its own way but through Christ in me I can pray in the Spirit in a way that pleases the Father.

This is a hard lesson and one that I am still working on.  The concept of prayer is a simple one but because it is communication between me (who is finite, flawed and flesh) and God (who is spirit, infinite and perfect) the actual process of prayer is anything but simple.  It takes Jesus Christ to bridge the gap between what I am and who God is and it is only through His work on the cross and His shed blood that I am able to come before God with a pure heart and clean hands.

I want my prayer to be heard by God and I want to pray in a way that pleases Him.  I want God’s will to be done but before I can honestly pray for it I need to ask for God’s will to be done in me and for the willingness to say “yes” to whatever He asks.


  1. Great post Matthew, you are so right that we can quickly throw up “your will be done” trying to get out of a situation when we should be praying what is your will for me to do in this situation. I also know that I have used in at times when I doubted or lacked the faith. I pray for something or someone but I doubt that God will do it so I cover myself with “your will be done.” – Like you said it really is a matter of the heart.

  2. This is a really important idea, Matthew, thanks for helping me see it. I’m working on Tim Keller’s book “Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God” now and I remember a similar idea there — that while we must learn to sincerely pray “Let your will be done” as instructed in the Lord’s Prayer, God also wants us specifically to talk to him about what we need and what we want to happen, even to wrestle with him and learn how to be persistent in prayer. These things seem contradictory to me, until I remember that this is about conversation and relationship and being transformed into someone like Jesus.

    Thanks for pushing my thinking about prayer today!

    • Matthew Gaither says:

      Thank you, Cris. God’s really been working on me about this lately and it comes straight from Him. I appreciate your encouragement!

  3. I usually pray for God to change my attitudes so that I will want His will to be done. As you say, praying for His will to be done is the beginning. After that comes the change in us and that takes a lot of time.

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