Editor's note: Join disciples around the world in January as we devote ourselves to prayer and action. Each day, Disciples Today will publish a devotional from 31 Days of Prayer by Daniel Berk. Follow along on Facebook with your comments and prayer requests. We look forward to an amazing year as we seek God together!
"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV)
I read a book in seminary titled The Mission of God by Christopher J. H. Wright. Still several months later, there is a quote I refer back to quite frequently: "I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should ask what kind of me God has for his mission" (534).
It's so common that we sit down in prayer and attempt to figure out what God has in store for us. We might pray something like, "What is your will for my life?" It's not an ill-mannered prayer, and it's likely prayed in good faith. However, in my own life, I sometimes become hyper-focused on what God has planned out for my life. I might pray something like, "Reveal your will to me," as though God has micromanaged the entire universe, and has decided exactly what each person should do, how they should do it, when they should do it, with whom they should do it... and if I don't pray hard enough to determine this will of God, then I fail at following his will.
I want to suggest that God isn't so much like that. Yes, he is involved in the lives of his people, and he works powerfully in ways we do and often don't notice.
What I'm not saying is that he has no will for your life. I'm also not saying you shouldn't pray for clarity or for help in determining God's will. But I think we too often ask him the wrong question. We ask him what his plan is for us, what his will is for us, when we should be asking him to help us be what we need to be for his mission. We should be asking God what his will is for him, and thus aligning our own hearts to seek that will.
Paul's prayer for the Thessalonian church above is that God makes them worthy of his calling. Further, he prays that, consequently, God's power brings about the fruition of every desire for goodness, and every deed prompted by faith.
God's will for the lives of his disciples, without fail, every single time, is that his name is glorified by what we do in faith. His will is that we become holy as he is holy, that we are set apart.
Pray not what kind of mission God has for you, but ask what kind of you God has for his mission. Pray that you become a Christian whom he can utilize to advance his kingdom, and pray that your character is molded in such a way as to glorify him more excellently. Spend time in prayer introspectively considering what parts of your character and life do not glorify God, and ask God to help you reorient in such a way as to glorify him with every part of your character, life, and routine.