What Happens When Our Prayer Changes From “My” Will to “Thy” Will?

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Have you ever transitioned “my” will to “Thy” will? It’s often not easy. Just look at Jesus when He spoke the words in Luke 22:42. But good things happen when that transition happens.

Here’s a story to encourage us.

What’s Thy Will?

“Will you pray for us, Kristi? We’re hoping to get orders to Northwest,” my friends requested as we exited the small white church, the grey sidewalk guiding each of our steps to awaiting cars.

Northwest was a military base, an easy commute for their country lifestyle. It made sense.

We were both Navy families and had bonded almost instantly upon arrival at the church two years earlier. But it was now time for new orders. There was no guarantee we would be together much longer.

As each of their hands reached for car door handles, I replied, “I can’t do that.”

Eyes went wide, gaping mouths did too. Over their now-open car doors, they stared at me in bewilderment. Their prayer request had been silenced.

“I can’t pray that because I don’t know if it’s God’s will for you. What I will pray, though, is that God will guide you in His plan, and you’ll choose to walk in it.”

They didn’t appear completely convinced. A mumbled thanks surfaced in the silence as their eyes unlocked from mine, and they slid into their car. The clank of doors closing and an engine roaring to life filled the air. Their car’s tires crunched across the stone parking lot, their rubber exiting onto the country road.

It was the juncture of a new prayer journey. Their route had just changed.

Championing my friends toward God’s plan was easy. It was their lives.

But when it comes to my own life, it doesn’t always seem that easy. Maybe you’ve been there?

There’s sacrifice involved. Trust. Laying down my plans for His. And we all know they don’t always mesh. Just ask Jonah.

“’Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.’” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.” (Jonah 1:2-3 WEB)

Uncertainty might come into view. Raise your hand if your flesh, like mine, wants a crystal-clear view of the road ahead.

Uh-huh.

Or maybe it’s certainty, a self-professed Jonah-esque confidence that seemingly knows…and doesn’t like…the outcome. 

Anyone care to comment strong-willed?

Regardless of the cause, Jonah ran from the LORD. And it was a mess.

Running from the Lord, like a toddler with chocolate pudding, smears the clear complexion of faith. It’s dark and messy.

But to trust and run with God?

Oh my…. How we will run and impact the lives of others for God’s glory! And how we’ll be changed in the process.

Jonah, after he turned and headed to Nineveh impacted lives in more than a whale of a way.

“…[L]et them cry mightily to God. Yes, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands.” (Jonah 3:8 WEB)

“God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn’t do it.” (Jonah 3:10 WEB)

My friends could have championed Jonah in their situation. Northwest dangled and looked good. Oh, how easy to pray its way.

But my friends, in the midst of changing their prayer from “my” will to “Thy” will, found a treasure. They laid down their Jonah and rose with Jesus.

They found Sigonella. Miles away, an ocean and time zones apart, they found “home”. Their new duty station filled them and reciprocated others with new worship, new friends, and new life. It was good, and it was growth.

When Jonah trusted God

And Jonah? Lives were saved squarely in the middle of God’s will. Is there anything more to life?

All it took was a little trust.

(By the way, there’s the cutest little book on Jonah here. My kids loved this one when they were little!)

Where are you placing your trust today? Is it in “my” will or “Thy” will? Are you laying down your Jonah, rising with Jesus instead? Lives very well might be changed for God’s glory. Go for it, friend. Choose Thy will every time.

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34 Comments

  1. Oh, Kristi, I love the mental picture of ‘running with God’. That’s heart-melting to think about. Sometimes life can feel so chaotic, that the enemy tells me I’m not on the right track, but that mental picture of running *with* God…brightens my morning today. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 So happy to see your smiling face beside me at the Testimony Tuesday linkup today. Best to you, friend. ((hug))

  2. Oh my! I needed this today…. “But to trust and run with God.” I really need to examine my heart – I believe that I trust Him….but do I run WITH Him? Do I believe He has my best interests in the end? Challenging questions for my heart.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

  3. Kristi,
    Upon seeing the title of this post I wanted to do a Jonah and run! Yesterday I started a fast and I am surrendering control and surrendering my rights. My prayer through the next 40-days is not my will but YOUR will be done. Oh Jesus please let my heart catch up to my words. I’m in tears even now as I type. I truly though I’d yielded every area and believed I sought His will but it was thinly veiled in a layer called “My Way”. Thank you friend for this confirming word. I must pin this post as a reminder that my yielding and obedience produces much fruit not only for me but for those connected with me. May grace abound toward you. Happy to be visiting from #Raralinkup

  4. Whew! Kristi! My will to thy…always easier said than done. God is trustworthy though, and every time I begrudgingly (I’ll admit) take steps toward His plan, He is faithful to bless it. The word that keeps popping up for me the past few weeks is discipline. Thank you for your piece this week…it absolutely applies! Also, my kids LOVE veggie tales, thank you;)

  5. What a great testimony of trusting in God’s plan above all else. I know He delights in giving us the desires of our heart, but more than that, I think He wants His desires to be our desires. It’s a huge step of faith to receive His will and trust that even when we don’t understand it, it is always best. Thanks for the encouragement today – because really, who wants to get eaten up by a whale?! 😉

  6. Kristi…what an AMAZING post! you are such a fantastic writer! I am inspired every time I read your work. The subject of your post is so thought provoking. I am reevaluating ” my” prayer requests as I write this! My desire is to be directly in the middle of God’s will for my life so I want my prayers to reflect that too. Thank you for sharing your God given talents in this beautiful post. May God bless you and yours. Have a wonderful week!

    1. Horace, the encouragement is making my heart sing. Golly, if you knew how much fear I faced (concerning writing) this past year. The ONLY thing that kept me pressing forward was a knowledge that this is ministry…for Him and called by Him. What can fight that, right? And what can be better than praying for and walking in His will? Nothing. Thanks for stopping by. You’re a blessing.

  7. I’m raising my hand high today Kristi! I’m so guilty of trying to work out every detail, then praying for God to comply with my plans. Haha! Oh how narrow my vision is compared to His. Thank you for this reminder today to always seek His will over mine:)

  8. This is good encouragement for me today, Kristi. I heard a message this weekend on prayer that challenged me to renew my commitment to praying. Good to remember that ultimately we’re praying for HIS WILL, not just our own!

  9. Kristi, I pray “Thy will” and not my own. But when it comes to taking the steps, I find at times I’m dragging my heels. But I am slowly learning to trust and walk in His will, one that is different from my own. And in that place of trust, I find myself blessed with more of Him. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

  10. Thy will- it’s so easy to get distracted from His will and plans the more the day progresses. So this is me putting my hand up too, lol. I’m thinking I need to get out my trusty post-its and plaster those two words up all over the house to fuel my heart to keep running to Him first at the mere mention of any decision or question or doubt.
    Thy will.
    Small words containing huge potential!
    Thank you, Kristi… as always, your posts aim a little better focus to my faith.

  11. Our plans just seem so much better. The book of Jonah has many interesting scenarios. One of my favorite verses that I just noticed the other day is verse 2 in chapter 2, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord you heard me!” He prayed this while in the fish before he spit him out! Jonah was caught up in a plan he didn’t care for I’m sure.

    Learning to pray for God’s will in our lives and those we love is challenging. I just want everyone to have their hearts desire. Forgetting that our heart misleads us many times. Love this friend. Great reminders today.

  12. Hi Kristi … praying these kinds of prayers of release seem so daunting at first. But they somehow get a bit easier as we see God hard at work on our behalf … and feel freed up from thinking we have to know what He should do.

    Thanks …

  13. Oh Kristi, how many times I’ve done the exact thing your friends wanted you to do. But God’s plans are always better, even though we don’t always see it at first. Thank you for this poignant reminder that praying his will is always the best prayer I can pray, even when it’s hard. Such a timely post for me, friend. xoxo

    1. God’s plans are best. You’re right, Abby. Thanking Him for this post’s timeliness. Isn’t it funny how these link-ups are such ministry? Many have fed me over the weeks. #goGodgo So glad this one did for you.

  14. Love this – and love how you boldly encouraged your friends to pray a different prayer. It’s hard to pray for God’s will, instead of all the things we think we want – but He does have better plans for us than we can create on our own.

  15. What a great story, Kristi! We all try and pray “thy will” but then fear the unknown, so we go back to “my will.” How often I have to remind myself of God’s faithfulness when I’ve completely surrendered to him. Thanks for the reminder! Following you on #TestimonyTuesday and #RaRaLinkup.