Saying or Praying “God Willing”

I would like to repost something I wrote a while ago. Then at the bottom is a link to a post called 7 Reasons to Say ‘God Willing…’ from another blog which complements this very well. Hat Tip to Challies.com.

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Praying God’s Will

Someone was once saying that a preacher on the radio was saying that we shouldn’t be saying, “If it’s Your will” when we pray because we’re not having confidence in what we’re praying, or something to that effect.

I said that it’s Scriptural to say that because of a couple of passages/verses:

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” TNIV

1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. TNIV

However I’ve rethought my reasoning. The James passage isn’t talking about prayer, it’s talking about plans, predicting the future etc. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” So while I think it’s Scriptural to say, “I’ll be doing … God willing”, the James passage doesn’t support saying, “If it’s Your will” when praying.

The 1 John passage is talking about God answering according to His will, not necessarily how we should pray. Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” But this needs to be balanced with 1 John 5:14 as mentioned above.

So when is it appropriate to say, “If it’s Your will?” I’m not trying to teach here. I’m just writing what my thinking is at the moment. Please feel free to comment.

If we are praying something that we know is Scriptural, it would almost be disrespectful to to add the if. For example–praying for growth in knowledge, wisdom (James 1:5-8) etc. If we are praying for miraculous healing, a certain material item etc. it may be respectful and reverent to say if it’s Your will. Some would say that shows a lack of confidence. I’m not sure if we could judge right or wrong either way.

As far as asking for something we know might or might not be in His will, it’s fine to ask and to be persistent as the parables of the woman in front of the judge and the man knocking on his neighbor’s door asking for food for a guest. If we should know the answer is no, then should we stop asking.

Paul pleaded with God three times for the thorn in his side to be taken away. God gave him a definitive answer, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”‘ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We don’t always know what to pray and the Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26-27). Thomas Schreiner in his commentary on Romans says that since the totality of God’s will is hidden from us, the Spirit fills this lack by interceding for us. The Spirit searches our hearts which long for God’s will, searches even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and intercedes for us according to God’s will with groans that our words can’t express.

I think it’s very important when praying for someone to always pray for things that you know are in God’s will according to Scripture along with any requests they may have or things you think they should have that may or may not be a part of God’s plan. For example if you pray only for healing and that isn’t a part of God’s plan, you’re not really doing them any good. But if you pray for comfort, perseverance, hope, strength etc. along with healing, you know you will be participating in glorifying God in their situation whatever the outcome.

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7 Reasons to Say ‘God Willing…’

6 Responses to “Saying or Praying “God Willing””


  1. 1 Julian

    Hey, thanks for the link. Good thoughts, by the way, thanks for sharing! These are things that are definitely worth thinking through.Julian

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    You’re welcome. I liked your post so much I wanted to work it in somehow. Thanks for stopping by.
    Jeff

  3. 3 wt

    What about Luke 22:42?

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    wt, thanks. Thats a great example.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Dabnis

    I like to remember that even Jesus, while praying in the garden about the cup being removed said to God “Even so, not my will but yours.”

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    That’s good to remember.
    Jeff

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