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.” Why, do you not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 (NIV)
Christians pray in submission to what God has kept hidden. That means Christians pray with humility—asking, not commanding. And this applies not only to prayer, but also to planning.
It is not a cop-out to say, “If it is the Lord’s will” in prayer. If God has not made the outcome known, it would be presumption not to.
Cultivate humility when you are praying about a job, about your health (or someone else’s), or about the salvation of a loved one. We know it is God’s will that people should be saved. But we do not know which people will be saved. So pray with humility. It will keep you from blaming yourself, and it will keep you from resenting God.
This is important when we pray for our nation. The secret things belong to the Lord (Dt. 29:29), and the purpose of God in the rise and fall of nations is kept hidden from us.
God may give us a thorn in the side—a nation that in large measure moves away from Christian faith. He may do this to keep us from becoming conceited, because of the surpassingly great blessings He has given to us. He may say to us in this, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
What step could you take today toward cultivating humility in your prayer life?