In God’s Will
Pray on the basis of the known will of God in line with his Word.
Alright, thank you very much. Always nice to be put on the air with a friendly voice, I appreciate that. Hello, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ all right? Well, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times of broadcasting the Word of God, as being the highest and holiest and most wonderful activity that I have, sharing the Word of God with people. I pray, oh, how I pray that what is said may specifically fit some need in your life. Today, again, we’ve been praying that God will just bring his word pointedly to bear upon some need that you may have, my beloved friend. And thus, our prayers will be answered.
We’re looking at John 7, we were talking about if of unbelief, “If thou doest these things, show thyself to the world.” If the if of unbelief, it’s there in everyone of our hearts. If I pray for this, what if it doesn’t happen? [chuckle] You can test this out for yourself. The pastor says, “We need $3,433.99 in order to pay the payment on the church mortgage, and we need it by Thursday. Would somebody pray that God would supply the need?” Will there be a long silence? And then some brave soul will pray and say, “Now Lord, if it be Thy will, just send in the money. But if not, help us to be brave and to suffer.” And so, always giving yourself a back exit, that’s human nature.
What if it doesn’t happen? Always then have plan B, and if plan B doesn’t work, have plan C, some kind of a side exit that will help you to save face at least if God doesn’t answer your prayer. The “if” of unbelief. Now, of course, all of our praying is subject to the sovereign will of God. Jesus, our blessed Lord said, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thy wilt. Not my will,” said he, “but thine be done.” And you and I do well to follow that pattern, do we not when we pray? The fact is, however, that James says, “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven of the wind and tossed. Let not that man, the double minded man, the wavering man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.”
Where do you start in all of that? How do you lick the if of unbelief? I think you have to start with Word of God and the known will of God. “If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. And if he hear us, we know that we have the petition we desired of him.” You find that in 1 John 5. You start with the known will of God and you find that in his word. When you pray according to the will of God, you’re sure of an answer. Now, there are many things in life that you’re not sure of. Your husband develops cancer, and you’d like to have him live with you a few more years, and you pray, “Oh, Lord, heal him.” Now, will God answer that prayer? Well, he may answer it yes or no. It maybe God’s will to place your husband in remission so that he will have some years of illness-free living. It may also, on the other hand, be God’s will to take him on home to heaven. And you and I, where we don’t have a known revealed will of God do well to pray, “Lord, Thy will be done.” And to commit ourselves absolutely to God’s will.
It’s like the lady I told you about some weeks ago, I guess it was, who came into my office and told me that the doctor told her she had cancer, and this was going to need a lot of surgery and a lot of chemo and whatnot, and she’d already been through so much. My heart just broke for her, it was with sympathy and longing as I envisioned what lay before this dear lady. We had some prayer and when I said Amen, she looked at me, smiled and said, “It’s all right.” And she must have seen surprise and unbelief in my eyes and she said, “Dr. Cook, I said it’s all right. It really is all right.” Hey, that’s it, isn’t it? Where you are so completely committed to God’s will that it’s all right. He hath done all things well. Oh, I have to relearn that lesson all the time because I’m so full of the things I want. How about you? And I need the guidance of the Spirit of God. Now, that’s the next thing.
You start with the known will of God, and then you continue in dependence up on the Holy Spirit who knows the will of God. “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity : For we know not what we should ask for as we pray for as we ought: But the Spirit himself helpeth our infirmity and makes intercession for us,” Paul says, “With groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts,” that’s God the Father, “knoweth what is the mind of the spirit because he, the Spirit, maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” I think I quoted that accurately, didn’t I?
I’m turning the pages of my Bible here with Romans 8 just to be sure. “We know not… ” Well, it starts with, “Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” See, that’s the subject about your prayer. What should I pray for? Should I pray that Grandpa would get well? Or should I pray that God would take him peacefully home to heaven? Should I pray that I would keep my job? Or should I pray that God would give me another job? “We know not what we should pray for as we ought: But the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he, the Spirit, maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Now, keep that phrase according to the will of God in your mind and go over them to 1 John, where he said, “We know this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us, and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” So this is what we call praying in the Spirit. Dependence on the known will of God as revealed in the word, dependence upon the known will of God as the Spirit knows it, and He’ll pray through you.
As a matter of fact, you can tell when you’re praying in the Spirit and when you’re not. I remember one occasion when I was gonna pray a man out of my church, he was a problem. He was an accident going somewhere to happen, and I decided the best thing to do is to pray him right out. And so, I made a date with God and on a given day I was gonna do this, and I got up in my study in that particular church, and was praying, and I got absolutely nowhere as I prayed that God would get rid of that man. And so, I thought, “Well, maybe I better change my approach.” And I began to pray for him and that worked a little better, prayed for his wife, I thought she needed some help too. And I got along pretty well as I prayed for this brother and asked that God would bless him, bless his wife and so on. My own soul became warm and blessed with that exercise of prayer as I began to pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God was guiding me, you see, where I started selfishly and out of personal pique. That wasn’t in the Spirit but as I yielded to His leadings in my praying, then I got somewhere, and by and by, it was lunch time, and I went on home to lunch as every good preacher should, and forgot the incident momentarily.
Well, the Lord took care of the man, got him busy preaching. He had the preacher’s itch. [chuckle] He got the dear man busy preaching and everything went wonderfully well. Listen, you can trust God to know what He wants and the Holy Spirit of God dwells within you. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” So the Spirit of God will pray through you. Pray in the Spirit. How do you accomplish that? You pray all that you know about the will of God based on His Word, and based on what God has taught you, and then you take time for the Holy Spirit of God to get you in tune with heaven’s wavelength. And you can tell because the Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the sons of God. You can tell the witness of the Spirit. You can tell when you’re praying in the Spirit. There is the freedom, and the blessing, and the warmth, and the confidence, and the God given faith to believe God for something, all right?
I remember praying on into the night hours for a man who had rebuffed me and literally left me out of his house many, many, years ago now, more than 50. He had rebuffed me and left me out of his house. I’d tried to speak to him about the things of God. I went on back to my room, got down on my knees, and prayed for some hours for the man, and as I prayed, I felt that I was praying in the will of God. I felt confident, and warm, and in the Spirit. Then finally, I said, “Amen,” and went on to bed, and went to sleep. The man got saved that succeeding week.
Listen, you can get an answer to prayer, and you can pray in faith, and you don’t have to have the if of unbelief, “If God drops me, if he dumps me, if he fails me, if he doesn’t answer my prayer, I better have plan B so I can do something else.” You don’t have to do it that way. You can commit yourself absolutely to the will of God. Pray on the basis of the known will of God, in line with his Word. Pray on the basis of the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit who knows the will of God. Pray on the basis of absolute commitment to what God wants. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And you’re gonna get your prayers answered. Amen? [chuckle] Oh, that’s great truth. You don’t mind if I get blessed on my own preaching, do you? [chuckle] ‘Cause I got to live it, you know? And when you live the Word of God, it does bless your soul.
Now, there’s the “if” of commitment, “if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” You say, “I don’t know about the will of God.” Many people say, “I have difficulty ascertaining the will of God.” What they mean is, “I don’t really know what’s gonna happen 10 years from now. Will I be a missionary, or a minister, or an administrator, or whatever?” The will of God oftentimes is taken by people to mean, “What’s gonna happen in the future?” Actually, the will of God is the here and now, obedience to His will that you know. If you will obey what you know to be the will of God, if any man would do His Will, you’ll find out what He has in mind. The old time holiness people used to say,” If you walk in the light, God will give you more light.” “If any man will do His will, he shall know.”
Would you try this for yourself? Undoubtedly, there are a number of things that you know about that you ought to do if you’re gonna obey God, isn’t that true? Actually, if you were going to obey your Lord, there are any number of things that you have put off and said, “I’ve gotta get at that sometime. I know it’s God’s will, but I’m not ready to do it just yet,” right? Would you dare to start obeying God on just one of those things? And see for yourself the delight of how God will reveal himself to you, as you obey Him? Simon Peter said in one of his sermons, as recorded in the book of Acts, “We are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost whom God had given to them that obey Him.” “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus”, the songwriter said, “but to trust and obey.” “If any man will do His will, he shall know.”
You wanna know something about God’s will for your life? Start obeying Him. It’s that simple. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. I have been through this now again and again. “Deliberate obedience to God’s will opens the door to more knowledge of His will.” Jesus said so and it does work, my beloved friend, you try it.
Dear Father today, help us to obey Thee so that we can know some more of Thy blessed will for us. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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