Unanswered Prayer? Asking For God’s Will or Your Will?

I asked God to give me favor with my boss so that she wouldn’t lay me off. It was my will not to get laid off, but God didn’t answer my prayer. Instead of getting depressed, I trust God to direct my steps according to His will.  In the last post, I discussed the difference between faith and doubt.  Sometimes we may have faith to move mountains, but God will mercifully not grant our request if it is not His will. Jesus taught His disciples to pray for His Father’s will to be done.  Jesus prayed for His Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 states, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”

1John 5:14-16 states, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15) And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Reason six: Are you praying for God’s will or your own will?

What is God’s will?

Obeying God’s instructions in the Bible is His will. The list below describes several activities He wants us to do.

1.   Eliminate sin and perfect our character as we suffering the common temptations and troubles in the world. See James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5. The Apostle Peter teaches us the following in 1Peter 4:1-2 & 6, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 6) For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”

2.   Live in the Spirit as He does—the evidence we are living in the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (trustworthy), gentleness (meekness-humility), and self-control. See Galatians 5:16, 22-25.

3.   Be of sound judgment (wise) and sober in spirit (temperate; not self-indulgent but self-restrained). 1Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

4.   Remain fervent (showing a great warmth of feeling) in your love for others. See Proverbs 10:12; 1Peter 1:22; 1Peter 4:8.

5.   Be hospitable (friendly; entertaining of guests). See Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13; and 1Peter 4:9.

6.   Serve one another using the special gifts given to you. See Luke 16:1-2; 1Peter 4:10; and Romans 12:6.

7.   Rejoice always. See 1Thessalonians 5:16 and Philippians 4:4.

8.   Pray without ceasing. See 1Thessalonians 5:17 and Romans 12:12.

9.   Give thanks in everything. See 1Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20; Ephesians 4:6 and 5:4; and Colossians 4:2.

10. Serve those you work for as though serving God. See Ephesians 6:5-8 and 1Peter 2:18.

11. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. See 1Peter 2:13-15 and Hebrews 13:17.

12. Do what is right and good for the benefit of others. Look up 1Peter 2:15; James 4:17; Revelations 22:11; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:16; and 3 John 1:11.

13. Abstain from sexual immorality. See 1Corinthians 6:15-20 and 1Thessalonians 4: 3-5, 7.

How do we know God’s will?

The only way to know God’s will is to meditate on His Words day and night. Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Also, read Psalm 1. Be careful of the wrong thinking that being prosperous and successful does not include temptations, trials, and suffering for Christ. Your number one goal or ambition for your life is to love and please God, love others, and to do His will to bring Him glory. We should not seek to be prosperous or successful by the world’s definition.

Know God’s perfect will by transforming unhealthy beliefs with the truths of God’s Word.  Romans 12:2 states, “… but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” When you do the will of God, you are not giving in to your sinful desires. Since sin begins in your mind, so you must transform your thinking to know the will of God. My book on my website explains how to do this.

When we pray for other people, we need to pray for God’s will, not our desires.  God gave us free will, and He will not change our choices.  We must be willing to change, and the other person we are praying for must be willing to change. If you don’t know how or what to pray, rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for them. Romans 8:26-28, states, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27) And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The Holy Spirit is in those who believe in Jesus Christ and received Him as their savior from eternal death and the wrath of God against sin. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and will intercede for us according to the will of God. And know that whatever happens, when we love God, He will use it for our good to accomplish His purpose.


Understand what the Apostle John tells us in 1John 2:17, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” If you want to live in eternity with God when you die, you will need to do His will.  I pray for each person who reads this post, that you will seek to please God and to do His will. Know that each of us must stand before the judgement seat of God and give an account for what we have done while in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10).


Unanswered Prayer? Doubt or Faith.

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Presentable?

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Connected?

Unanswered Prayer? Why?


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request. P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Author: Joyce Holzman Hanscom

I teach incarcerated women in the county jail about how to discover a new reality for their lives. Discovering a new reality is achieved when you heal emotions from painful memories and transform negative heart issues. When false beliefs are transformed by truth, then you can love from a pure heart and make wise decisions.

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