When you pray for the salvation of a loved one, you never have to wonder if it’s God’s will. His will is clearly spelled out in Scripture: ‘God… wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:3–4 NIV) However, when it comes to praying for things that aren’t clearly promised in Scripture, you should say, ‘If it is Your will.’ Why?
Because the Bible says, ‘When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’ Sometimes we have a hard time accepting this truth because we’re convinced our petitions are justified. But unless your heart is pure towards God and your will is lined up with His, your motives for asking can be tainted by self-interest. John 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 that He hears—whatever we ask—we know… we have what we asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:14–15 NIV)
When you pray for something you’re not sure is in keeping with the mind of God, you should pray, ‘If it is Your will.’ This doesn’t mean you’re weak in faith. Rather you’re submitted to God when you say, ‘Lord, I want this—if fits in with Your plan, is Your best for me, and it’s in Your timing.’
Paul says, ‘We can see and understand only a little about God now.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12 TLB) We see only a partial picture, but God has complete knowledge of the situation from beginning to end. So pray in faith, and trust God for the right results.