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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.’”—Acts 4:23–28 (NIV)
Sovereign (despota): an authority figure (“master”) who exercises complete jurisdiction (wields unrestricted power); someone exercising unrestricted power and absolute domination, confessing no limitations or restraints
Throughout history, people have sought to claim sovereignty over others. Emperors, kings, tyrants, presidents, and terrorists have all sought to forcefully take what is not theirs to take. And all eventually fail or die. Why? Because true sovereignty can’t be claimed or taken as it belongs to God. He doesn’t need to take it, He simply operates in it!
Jesus said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17–19 NIV). When talking to Pilate, He said, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11 NIV). Jesus was in full control. His trial, crucifixion, and death were all part of the plan.
So, what does this have to do with us? Well, knowing the absolute sovereignty of our Lord, we can walk with confidence into every fiery furnace, we can stand before any situation with peace as Jesus did before Pilate, and we can pray with boldness as the apostles did in Acts 4. Why? Because our lives and the world around us will unfold and take shape in accordance to “what [God’s] power and will [have] decided beforehand should happen.”
Thus, I encourage you every day to pray and bring supplication and intercession before the sovereign Lord always in accordance and submission to His will. Consider what 1 John 5:14 (NIV, emphasis added) tells us in relation to this:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
When we pray, we must pray for all things according to His will and good pleasure as we seek to live and walk according to His will. Jesus also directs us to forgive others as He’s forgiven us. It’s His will that we love, treat, and show compassion and grace to others as it’s been shown to us.
So, as we seek to live in accordance with His will and to walk boldly and confidently in His sovereignty, He’ll be faithful to reveal His will to us. Then, as we pray according to His will, we’ll receive what we ask. And let me tell you, there’s never anything you could ask for according to your will that will be better, more life-giving, beneficial, and fulfilling than what you ask for and receive according to His will, because as Paul says in Philippians 2:13 (NIV), “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Pause: What does it mean to ask according to His will? Why should you pray this way?
Practice: As you pray this week, always approach God with an open-handed posture seeking above all His will to be done.
Pray: Father, I desire Your will over my life, Your will over my friends and family, over my community, and over this world. I pray for Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Make my desires Your desires; conform my heart and my will to follow after Yours and seek after Yours. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.