When Jesus taught us how to pray, he said we should pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Yet in other parts of the Bible, prayers are very specific. In 1 Chronicles 4:10, Jabez prayed: “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” Then in 2 Chronicles 20:12, King Jehoshaphat cried out against his enemies: “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” It is another specific prayer.
So what is correct?
Both. I believe we should pray specifically, and also for God’s will.
Sometimes God’s will gets a bad rap. We look at it as punishment rather than good. When our prayer is not answered, or something we thought we were supposed to do does not happen, we hang our heads and say, “I guess it wasn’t God’s will” instead of being joyful that the request wasn’t answered because God sees the future and knows what is in our best interest. His will is better than our will.
So as we head into 2024, let’s prepare our list. Let’s not be afraid to lay our specific prayers for the year before the LORD. However we should leave room for the will of God, and promise not to be disappointed if the answer to some of our specific requests is “no.” His will trumps our will.
Thank you Lord for allowing specific prayers. As we lay our 2024 requests before you, we pray that you will discard any that are not in your will. We desire for our lives to be in line with your plan for our future. AMEN.