Praying According to God’s Will

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 God is a God of peace. He raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the Good Shepherd of the sheep. His blood made the Covenant of Worship which will last forever. 21 May God give you every good thing you need so you can do what He wants. May He do in us what pleases Him through Jesus Christ. May Christ have all the glory forever! Let it be so.

Scripture teaches that God hears and answers when we make requests according to His will (14 We are sure that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear us. 15 If we are sure He hears us when we ask, we can be sure He will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15). Although our Father is always faithful to guide us in specific situations, He also wants us to know His big goals for us, which are described throughout His Word. Today’s passage from Hebrews 13 is one such example.

With regard to both character and deeds, God’s purpose for believers can be summed up in these two requests from Hebrews 13:21:

His goal is to “equip [us] in every good thing to do His will.” He wants us to depend fully on Him to accomplish the good works He planned beforehand for us to do (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph. 2:10). These include righteous living in obedience to His Word as well as fruitful service in His name and to His people.

God is “working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.” As the Father shapes us into the image of His Son, He is transforming our character so we’ll have a heart bent toward pleasing Him. Otherwise, all our good works are useless.

When you ask God to accomplish these two things in your life, you can be sure He will.

Ephesians 2:10

Wemmicks were a community of painted wooden people in the children’s book You Are Special by Max Lucado.

Some of the Wemmicks were new and shiny. Others were chipped and peeling. Every day in Wemmicksville, they all received stickers. Some got gold stars, while others were given gray dots.

Punchinello, the main character, suddenly realized that only the pretty, shiny Wemmicks received the gold stars. He, and the others, got gray dots. So he decided he must not be worth very much.

One day Punchinello met Lucia, who didn’t have any stickers, gold stars, or gray dots. She explained that labels never stick to her. Punchinello decides he, too, wants to be free from labels. So they both go to Eli, the creator of all Wemmicks. Punchinello is surprised to learn that Eli loves him just the way he made him. In fact, Eli explains, stickers only stick to those who allow them to remain stuck.

This simple kids’ story teaches profound lessons of unconditional love, healthy self-esteem, and individual uniqueness. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul reminds us that God made us just the way He wanted us. And that we enjoy a special place in His plan.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Consider three lessons we learn from this verse.

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What Will Heaven REALLY Be Like?

“Randy Alcorn addresses a common misconception about Heaven.”
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Spiritual Joy

Focusing on Jesus is the key to joy, even during times of distress.

Philippians 1:1-18

This letter is from Paul and Timothy. We are servants owned by Jesus Christ. This letter is to all who belong to Christ Jesus who are living in the city of Philippi and to the church leaders and their helpers also. May you have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God for you whenever I think of you. I always have joy as I pray for all of you. It is because you have told others the Good News from the first day you heard it until now. I am sure that God Who began the good work in you will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again. It is right for me to feel like this about all of you. It is because you are very dear to me. While I was in prison and when I was proving that the Good News is true, you all shared God’s loving-favor with me. God knows what I am saying. He knows how much I love you all with a love that comes from Jesus Christ. And this is my prayer: I pray that your love will grow more and more. I pray that you will have better understanding and be wise in all things. 10 I pray that you will know what is the very best. I pray that you will be true and without blame until the day Christ comes again. 11 And I pray that you will be filled with the fruits of right living. These come from Jesus Christ, with honor and thanks to God. 12 Christian brothers, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped spread the Good News. 13 Everyone around here knows why I am in prison. It is because I preached about Jesus Christ. All the soldiers who work for the leader of the country know why I am here. 14 Because of this, most of my Christian brothers have had their faith in the Lord made stronger. They have more power to preach the Word of God without fear.

15 Some are preaching because they are jealous and want to make trouble. Others are doing it for the right reason. 16 These do it because of love. They know that I am put here to prove the Good News is true. 17 The others preach about Christ for what they get out of it. Their hearts are not right. They want to make me suffer while I am in prison. 18 What difference does it make if they pretend or if they are true? I am happy, yes, and I will keep on being happy that Christ is preached.


The apostle Paul demonstrated that spiritual joy is possible even during times of adversity. In fact, his epistle to the Philippians, written during a time of imprisonment, is known for its repeated references to rejoicing. But have you ever felt as if you’ve lost your joy? This can happen for several reasons:

Wrong focus. By centering on Jesus, Paul was able to praise God despite harsh trials. Concentrating on difficulties can cause delight to vanish. Refocus through praise to bring it back.

Disobedience. Sin steals our joy because it disrupts our fellowship with God (The Lord will not hear me if I hold on to sin in my heart. Ps. 66:18). As we receive His forgiveness and obey Him, joy returns.

Regret. We crowd out gladness when we dwell on past mistakes. The Lord has forgiven us (If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin. 1 John 1:9). He wants us to choose to live in His grace and move ahead.

Fear. Joy and fear cannot coexist. We are called to live by faith, asking God to meet today’s needs and trusting Him with the future.

Others’ suffering. How can we rejoice when others hurt? Be happy with those who are happy. Be sad with those who are sad. Romans 12:15says we’re to weep with them, but we are also to offer the hope of God’s presence, power, and provision.

A consistently downcast spirit is a poor witness for hope (Why are you sad, O my soul? Why have you become troubled within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my help and my God. Ps. 42:11). Fix your gaze on the Savior and let His joy become yours. Then it can overflow to those around you.

Thirty-Eight Observations on John 11

by Dr. Larry Dixon

1. My sickness can be for God’s glory (v. 4). 2. A delayed or denied healing does not mean God loves us less (v. 6). 3. There is something far more important than preventing one of Jesus’ followers from dying (v. 6). 4. Jesus allows the dying process to reach its conclusion, knowing it was […]

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Philippians 2:1-8

by ThePreachersWord

Warren Wiersbe relates a story about a reporter who was interviewing a successful job counselor. He had helped hundreds of workers find happiness and fulfillment in their vocations. When asked the secret of his success the man offered this insight.

“If you want to find out what a worker is really like, don’t give him responsibilities give him privileges. Most people can handle responsibilities if you pay them enough, but it takes a real leader to handle privileges. A leader will use his privileges to help others and build the organization; a lesser man will use privileges to promote himself.” Read more of this post

The Empowering Emotion of Joy

True joy comes not from circumstances but from our relationship with Jesus.

John 15:9-17

I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love. 10 If you obey My teaching, you will live in My love. In this way, I have obeyed My Father’s teaching and live in His love. 11 I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.

12 “This is what I tell you to do: Love each other just as I have loved you. 13 No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I tell you. 15 I do not call you servants that I own anymore. A servant does not know what his owner is doing. I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father. 16 You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you. I have set you apart for the work of bringing in fruit. Your fruit should last. And whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.

17 “This is what I tell you to do: Love each other.


Jesus promised us His joy, but at times it can evade us. There are some important things to understand about this spiritual fruit. As we saw yesterday, the Holy Spirit is its source. And being supernatural in nature, divine joy exists independently of our circumstances. Happiness, on the other hand, comes from external causes, is an earthly in character, and increases or decreases as events change.

Holy Spirit-developed joy comes when we:

Focus on our relationship with the Lord. Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are forever His. Nothing can separate us from our Savior.

Observe His transforming work in others. Notice what God is doing around you: rescuing people from bondage to sin and transforming them into His likeness.

Serve those He sends to us. Our obedient, loving care for others brings spiritual joy.

Meditate on God’s living Word. Through Scripture, we receive an outpouring of His love and precious truths on which to build our lives.

Take a few minutes to contemplate the wonder of your new birth, share someone’s spiritual joy, obediently serve another person, or receive guidance from God’s Word. Then check your emotional barometer. Are you singing hallelujah yet?

Greatly annoyed

But Paul, greatly annoyed.
Acts 16:18
A couple of frustrated people sat at a counter of a diner for half-an-hour without anyone coming to take their order. They finally got up and left, but not before taking the ketchup dispenser and writing these words across the counter in “red” letters: WE WAITED 30 MIN. NO SERVICE.
Recommended Reading: Acts 16: 16 – 18
A lot of things can annoy us during any given day. Do you sometimes have more trouble dealing with everyday irritations than with major life events? Like sand in an oyster or grit in a rock tumbler, we become worn down by life’s inconveniences—a flat tire, a lost key, a fussy child, a nagging neighbor, a broken pencil lead, a delayed flight—or a long wait at a restaurant.

How easily we become frustrated in our daily lives! We need to remember that while frustration is temporary, God’s calming presence is always available. It’s the sand in the oyster that makes the pearl, and it’s the grit in the tumbler that polishes the rock. Paul’s annoyance led to the deliverance of a demon-possessed girl.

It’s one of life’s great lessons—great maturity is handling small irritations with sanctified patience. Consider these red letters from Luke 21:19: “By your patience possess your souls.”

Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting.
A. W. Tozer

A Life-Changing Prayer

Colossians 1:9-14

This is why I have never stopped praying for you since I heard about you. I ask God that you may know what He wants you to do. I ask God to fill you with the wisdom and understanding the Holy Spirit gives. 10 Then your lives will please the Lord. You will do every kind of good work, and you will know more about God. 11 I pray that God’s great power will make you strong, and that you will have joy as you wait and do not give up. 12 I pray that you will be giving thanks to the Father. He has made it so you could share the good things given to those who belong to Christ who are in the light. 13 God took us out of a life of darkness. He has put us in the holy nation of His much-loved Son. 14 We have been bought by His blood and made free. Our sins are forgiven through Him.


The prayer in today’s reading is a powerful model for any believer. The passage teaches how to pray on behalf of others—and those who do will find themselves changed in the process. In verses 9-10 of this letter, Paul and Timothy say they’ve been praying that the believers in Colossae would …

Be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. One of the major steps toward knowing God’s will is to know His Word, which provides guidance in every imaginable situation. When we pray this, we are asking God to make clear His perfect and precise will for every decision.

Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. This is a phrase that means making one’s life count for eternity. Whatever we have done in the Spirit—which Scripture compares to refined gold, silver, and precious stones—is worth exponentially more than the “wood, hay, or straw” ashes produced by worldly interests (10 Through God’s grace to me, I laid the stones on which the building was to be built. I did it like one who knew what he was doing. Now another person is building on it. Each person who builds must be careful how he builds on it. 11 Jesus Christ is the Stone on which other stones for the building must be laid. It can be only Christ. 12 Now if a man builds on the Stone with gold or silver or beautiful stones, or if he builds with wood or grass or straw, 13 each man’s work will become known. There will be a day when it will be tested by fire. The fire will show what kind of work it is. 14 If a man builds on work that lasts, he will receive his reward. 15 If his work is burned up, he will lose it. Yet he himself will be saved as if he were going through a fire. 1 Cor. 3:10-15).

Bear fruit in every good work. When Jesus Christ is the center of our life, then our character, conduct, and conversation should bear fruit for His kingdom.

The words of this passage can be prayed for anyone, whether or not the person already knows the Lord. And in making these requests for others, we will want the same kind of growth in our own life.

Love is Kind


“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. That’s why whenever we can, we should always be kind to everyone…” Galatians 6:9-10 (TLB)


The great leader Mahatma Gandhi was planning to travel by train one day and, because he and a companion were running late, he got on board just in time, but one of Gandhi’s sandals fell off and landed beside the track. They stood there watching his sandal go off in the distance, when Gandhi did a strange thing. He reached down and removed his other sandal and threw it along the track where it landed beside the other sandal. His friend was puzzled by this rather odd behavior and asked why he had done it. Gandhi said: “One sandal is no good to me. But perhaps a poor person will come along, discover both sandals, and be happy that he now has shoes”. This is kindness—and a natural part of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Instead of worrying about his loss, he thought of the person who would discover and benefit from a complete pair of shoes.

Everyday we are faced with multiple opportunities to show kindness to those around us. When you hold the door open for someone, say “thank you”, share a smile with someone, provide encouragement or words of affirmation for someone who is feeling down… kindness is thinking of others before ourselves. Being kind is part of what love is and is a great way to be an example of Christ to others. Kindness crosses all languages and boundaries and is an act that is easily seen and understood by others.

In a world where everyone is often too busy to think of others, let us choose to be intentionally kind. Someone may be carrying an overwhelming burden, but our kindness could be just what they need to keep going. It may even lead them to Jesus! When we obey in being kind to others, it is amazing to see the blessing and encouragement God gives us as well.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, it can often be easy to focus on “me”. My needs, my feelings, my desires, etc. Today, I ask that you shift my focus to others. Help me be your presence to those around me through the kindness I demonstrate. May it lead others to discover the One who IS love… You! Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.