When the Holy Spirit places His desires in our hearts, then we can and should pray until we know He has heard. It would be foolish to think that a person we are talking with can assure us she has heard our request, but to doubt that God can assure us He has heard. John implies this "knowing" is possible when He says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have whatever we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).
Our need is to learn to allow Him to give us His desires. In 1 Chronicles 5:22, God's people won the war because the battle "was of God" (KJV). Whenever the Israelites sought the Lord regarding which battles to fight, and then went at His command, they always had victory. On the other hand, if they went without God leading them, they lost the battle.
Prayer is our battleground, and we, too, must expect God to help us to know which battles are "of God." Sometimes when we begin to pray, the Holy Spirit lets us know our request would not fulfill His desire. It is as though He says, "You mean well, but I have a higher desire." As we continue to pray, at times exact words will form in our minds, words that we recognize the Spirit is pleased for us to pray. It may simply be a heartfelt, "My deepest desire is for You to be glorified in this situation."
An amazing phrase is repeated in 2 Samuel 8: "The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went" (vss. 6, 14). Earlier David had prayed, "Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever." When the desire for God's name to be honored is the basis for our persevering prayers, God gives victory 100 percent of the time.
Teach us to pray, dear Lord, so we ask for what You desire to give us.
"We do not know what we ought to pray...the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" (Rom. 8:26, 27).
Memory Verse for May
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).
Call on the Holy Spirit to convict believers of hidden sin and move them to confess and repent.