Summary: How serious are we about finding God’s will for our lives? How serious are we about praying in order to find God’s will?
Knowing God’s Will Through Prayer and Fasting
27th January 2008 am
Soon after Israel had invaded Palestine in the days of Joshua, they were fooled into signing an unscriptural peace treaty with a group of deceitful pagans. The cause for this tragic error is clearly stated in God’s Word – Joshua 9:6 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. The Gibeonites, brought only trouble to Israel. (Josh 10:4-15; 2 Sam 21:1-14)
It is that one of the most important factors in knowing God’s will for our lives is to pray. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Have you ever watched how a bird sleeps on its perch and never falls off? How does it manage to do this? The secret is the tendons of the bird’s legs. They are so constructed that when the leg is bent at the knee, the claws contract and grip like a steel trap. The claws refuse to let go until the knees are unbent again. The bended knee gives the bird the ability to hold on to his perch so tightly.
Is this not also the secret of the holding power of the Christian? Daniel found this to be true. Surrounded by a pagan environment, tempted to compromise with evil, urged to weaken his grip on God, he refused to let go. He held firm when others faltered because he was a man of prayer. He knew the power of the bended knee. Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:  And I prayed unto the Lord my God…
In the light of these passages it is evident that the Christian must pray to know God’s will. In other Bible verses fasting is linked with prayer.
A. Our Praying
I. We must Pray Sincerely – Verses 7-8
The fact that a prayer is repeated does not make it a “vain repetition.” Christ repeated His prayer in Matthew 26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. & 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
A request becomes a vain repetition if it is only a babbling of words without a sincere heart to seek and do God’s will. The reciting of memorised prayers can be a vain repetition. The Gentiles used such prayers in their pagan ceremonies 1 Kings 18:26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leapt upon the alter which was made.
(Ill - Hare Krishna – repeated over and over and over..)
God does not answer insincere prayers.
God is concerned about our needs and knows them before we even mention them (verse 8). If this is the case, then why pray? Because prayer is the God-appointed way to have these needs met James 4:2b-3 …ye have not, because ye ask not.  ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Prayer prepares us for the proper use of the answer. If we know our need, and if we voice it to God, trusting Him for His provisions, then we will make better use of the answer than if God forced it on us without our asking.
II. We must Pray in God’s Will – Verses 9-13
We know this as “The Lord’s Prayer,” but a better title would be “The Disciples’ Prayer.” Jesus did not give this prayer to us to memorise and recite a number of times; He gave us this prayer to keep us from using vain repetitions.
Jesus never said, “Pray these words.” He said, “After this manner therefore pray ye:” in other words, use this prayer as a pattern and not as a substitute. The purpose of prayer is to glorify God’s name and to ask for help to accomplish His will on earth.
Someone once said, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth.” We have no right to ask God for anything that will dishonour His name or disturb His will on earth or in our lives.