According to my friend Kaleb,
The problem is not about knowing the will of God, it is about not having the will to know what God wants.
There is truth in this statement.
We must want God’s will to do God’s will. People sometimes complain that their prayers to know God’s will seem to be a waste of time. Yet how many really want to do God’s will? Perhaps God does not bother showing them His will because they won’t do it. This might explain the frustration that these people feel about their prayer life.
But why do so many prayers frustrate faithful Christians for no apparent reason? I am talking about people who are dedicated to living for God and who really want to do His will. But the lack of answers from God frustrates these servants of God. What is wrong?
These Christians are frustrated by their prayer life because they examine themselves and do not see a problem with lacking belief in God, with lacking love for God, or with lacking a desire to do His will. In other words, they really do want God’s will to be done in their lives and are more than eager to believe and accept His will, if only they knew what it was. I can hear the cry now:
Lord, answer my prayer. I claim it in your name. I am praying earnestly, believing with all my heart in your promises. Lord, according to your promise to hear my prayers, I thank you for granting my request. I thank you now for hearing my prayers to move this mountain.
And then they wait. And wait. Finally, they explain that their prayer was answered, just not as they had hoped and expected.
Why are the prayers of these saints not granted as they requested? Why do they ask and not receive, though they believe with all their heart?
The source of their frustration is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ promise in Mark 11:23.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
They pray for mountains to move, and the mountains do not move. They examine their hearts, and they genuinely have no doubt that God can move mountains. They believe! And yet, their requests are not granted. The mountain does not budge.
The reason for the frustration is due to one very important point overlooked in verse 22.
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.Mark 11:22
Have faith in God is the point overlooked. Faith in God is not about believing in God. Faith is what you believe in!
Without faith, you have only yourself to believe in. Without faith, you have only your own personal desires to believe. Without faith, your prayers are according to your will, not God’s.
Hebrews 11:1 says,
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Belief is not substance, and belief is not evidence. Substance and evidence are what you believe. Those who do not grasp the difference between faith and belief are frustrated by Jesus’ promise in Mark 11:22-23.
Faith is revelation from God. “Have faith in God” refers to what God wants you to believe.
If you ask God to move a mountain that He does not want moved, it will not move, no matter how much you believe or plead. But if He reveals to you which mountain He wants you to ask Him to move, and you do so believing without a doubt in your mind, nothing will prevent your prayer from being granted. That mountain will be moved.
Praying by faith means we pray as God tells us to pray. And having faith in God reminds us that we do not command God to move mountains. He commands us. When we tell God what to do, we are not praying by faith.
Discover more about prayer in my two books, Hope: Lesson from a cancer survivor’s journey with God and Pray: How God answers every prayer.