When we pray we should not express our rights or point of view. We need to identify the will of God, and pray that into operation. If we are not praying God’s will in a situation, we are praying our own will. James 4:3 shows that is why many prayers seem to be unanswered.
Prayer according to the will of God involves not just the requests, but also the motives. We can ask for the right thing with the wrong motives.
Prayer is not trying to persuade God to do our will, but making sure that we align ourselves with his will. This does not mean tagging ‘if it be your will Lord’ at the end of a list of selfish requests! Some people teach that we shouls expect the answers ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Wait’ to your prayers. Such teaching may have been born out of struggle to identify the will of God in a situation. But the reason we don’t know the God’s will is often simply our laziness.
I John 5:14-15 shows that God’s answer is always ‘Yes’! to requests which are made according to his will – and this should be the goal od all our prayers. We should aim to know God and his will so well that we can ask and be confident of a positive answer every time.
Praying in the name of Jesus is not a magical formula but a recognition that our authority in prayer is being exercised in alignment with the will of the Father. And John 14:13-14 shows what happens when we pray like this! When we pray with the authority of Jesus it is as if Jesus is praying.
Romans 8:26-27 teaches that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. If we do not know what the will of God is in a situation, we can pray in tongues and the Holy Spirit will pray his will through us. (From Colin Dye, Effective Prayer, London 2007, pp. 134-135)