Pray According to God's Will

by Watchman Nee on May 30, 2017


Pray According to God’s Will
By Watchman Nee

"I anticipated the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy words. Mine eyes anticipated the nightwatches, that I might meditate on thy word." (Ps. 119.147,148)

"In the third year of Cyrus King of Persia, a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, even a great warfare: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three whole weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled . . . Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, and to humble thyself before thy God, thy words were heard: and I am come for thy words’ sake. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days . . . Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I am come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I go forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come. But I will tell thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth . . . "
(Dan. 10.1-21)

As we read Daniel chapter 10 which tells us of how Daniel prayed, we should notice at least two points.

Point One

The first point to be noticed is that one who really prays is a person who not only often approaches God but also whose will frequently enters into God’s will—that is to say, his thought often enters into God’s thought. This is a most important principle in prayer. There is a kind of prayer which originates entirely from our need. Though at times the Lord hears such prayers, He nonetheless gets little or nothing out of them. Please take note of this verse: “He gave them their request, but sent leaness into their soul” (Ps. 106.15). What does this passage mean? As Israel cried to God for the gratification of their lust, He did answer them by indeed giving them what they asked for—but with the result, however, of their being weakened before Him. Oh yes, sometimes God will hear and respond to your prayers for the sake of satisfying your own needs, yet His own will is not fulfilled. Let us see that such prayer does not have much value in it.
But there is another kind of prayer, which comes out of God’s own need. It is of God, and it is initiated by God. And such prayer is most valuable. In order to have such prayer, the one who prays must not only personally often appear before God but also he must allow his will to enter into God’s will, his thought must be allowed to enter into God’s thought. Since he habitually lives in the Lord’s presence, such a person is given to know His will and thoughts. And these divine wills and thoughts quite naturally become his own desires, which he then expresses in prayer.
Oh how we must learn this second kind of prayer. Although we are immature and weak, we may nevertheless approach God and let His Spirit bring our will into God’s will and our thought into God’s thought. As we touch a little of His will and thought we come to understand a little more of how He works and what He requires of us. So that gradually the will and thought of God which we have known and entered into becomes in us our prayer. And such prayer is of great value.
Having entered into God’s thought and thus having touched His will and purpose, Daniel found in his own heart the same desire as God’s. The longing of God was reproduced in Daniel and became
Daniel’s desire.

So that when he expressed this desire in prayer with cries and groanings, he was actually articulating God’s desire. We need to have this kind of prayer, for it really touches the divine heart. We do not need more words; what we need is a touching more of the Lord’s mind. Let the Spirit of God lead us into the intent of God’s heart.

Of course, this kind of prayer will require time to learn. In the beginning of such a learning process let us not seek for more words nor for more thoughts. Our spirit should be calm and restful. We may bring our current situation to the Lord and consider it in the light of His countenance, or we may forget our present condition and simply meditate on His word before Him. Or we may just live before Him and try to touch Him with our spirit. As a matter of fact, it is not we who go forth to meet God but it is God who is waiting there for us. And there in His presence we perceive something and touch upon the will of God. The greatest wisdom comes, in fact, from this very source. By this, our will enters into His will and our thought enters into His heart. And from there our prayer will rise to Him.

As we bring our will and thought to God His own will and thought begin to be reproduced in us, and then this becomes our will and thought. This kind of prayer is most valuable and full of weight. Let us recall what the Lord Jesus said about prayer: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth” (Matt. 6.9,10). These are not just three words for us to repeat. These words, which disclose the will and thought of God, are to be reproduced in us when the Spirit of God brings our mind to God. And as they become our will and thought, the prayer which we afterwards utter is most valuable and most weighty.
Over the one and the same matter there is the possibility of having two different kinds of prayer. One kind has its source in our own will. It is based on our own thinking and our own expectations.

The Lord may hear and answer our prayer, but such prayer has a very low value attached to it. If, on the other hand, we bring this matter before God and let His Spirit merge our will into God’s will and our thought into God’s thought, we shall discover within us a deep longing which is in fact a reproduction of His will and thought. Suppose the Lord is grieved and mournful over the death of men. We too will develop such a burden of not willing to see even one soul perish. And such is a reproduction of God’s heart which enables us to pray with inward sighings. Or if the Lord is anxious and hurt because of the failure of His children, this very same burden will be reproduced in us; with the result that we will have the same yearning of not willing to see a child of God fall into sin and darkness. Then prayer and intercession will issue forth from within us. There we will confess, plead for forgiveness, and ask God to purify His children.

Hence one kind of prayer is prayed according to our own will; the other kind is prayed as the will of God which has been reproduced in us and has become our will. How different are these two kinds of prayer. In the latter case, as any believer approaches God, the will of God will be reproduced in him. It will become his breath and his sigh. And prayer which is prayed according to this will has worth and weight.

God has many things to do on earth, touching many areas. How, then, can we ever pray according to our own feeling and thought? We should draw near to God and allow Him to impress us with what He desires to do so that we ourselves may intercede with groanings. In case, as we approach Him, God puts His will of spreading the gospel in us, this soon will become a burden in us. And when we pray according to that burden, we shall have a sense as though our very sigh is divulging the will of God. The Lord may put a variety of wills or reproduce a variety of burdens in us. But whatever be the particular will or burden, whenever it is reproduced in a person’s heart, that person is able to make the Lord’s will his own will and pray it out accordingly. When, in the case of Daniel, he came before God, he touched a certain matter; and then we saw that he prayed out that thing with deep groanings. How precious and substantial is prayer such as this. It can hallow God’s name, bring in God’s kingdom, and cause God’s will to prevail on earth as in heaven.

Point Two

The second point to be noticed is, that when we pray with such prayer, our prayer will shake up hell and affect Satan. For this reason, Satan will rise up to hinder such prayer. All prayers which come from God touch the powers of darkness. Here involves spiritual warfare. Perhaps our physical bodies, our families, or whatever pertains to us will be attacked by Satan. For whenever there is such prayer, it calls forth Satanic assault. The enemy so attacks in order that our prayer might be discontinued. He may even try to throw up some blockage in the air so as to delay the answer to prayer. That prayer ought to receive a response quickly; however, the answer seems to be suspended in the air. In just such fashion as this, the answer to Daniel’s prayer was hindered for twenty-one days although God actually heard him the day he began to pray. In such a situation, what did Daniel do? He knelt before God and he waited until the answer to prayer arrived.

Let me ask this question: Do you ever wonder why your prayer remains unanswered? Perhaps it is suspended somewhere, still within the period of twenty one days! The answer of the throne may possibly have been given, yet it encounters opposition and, consequently, is suspended in air. Why? It awaits more prayers on earth; it needs people who will patiently and humbly wait upon God.

Oh do draw near to God’s presence, calm down before Him, lay aside your own thoughts, and enter into His thought. You will then realize the significance of prayer and see in how many matters God is waiting for you to pray. Things around the entire world are to be subjects of your prayer, and matters in all directions are to be touched through your prayer. You do not pray according to your own feeling; you instead bring your own heart desire to the heart desire of God and let His will become your will, your groaning, and your hope in the universe.

Nothing of the will of God is ever released without passing through man, and nothing of whatever will of God released through man is ever free from an encounter with the power of Satan. For the realization of God’s will, there is the need for prayer; to remove Satan’s opposition requires prayer. Let us exercise the authority of prayer in loosing whatever must be loosed and binding whatever should be bound. Let us not pray after our own will. Let us draw near to God and pray according to the will which He has reproduced in us. When God says that this must be done we also say it must be done. When He says this must not exist, we too say it must not exist. We ought to forget ourselves, touch God’s will, and express His current will through prayer.

(From the book Let us Pray by Watchman Nee)