Now we have an interesting question: Should we pray passionately in faith for anything we desire, even selfless requests, or are we to pray for God's will, as it is plainly stated even in the Lord's prayer? When pertaining to prayer, there is one Greek noun for God's will that is used most often. Boulēma means "a wish or desire" and is emotional by nature. Thelēma describes something that will not or cannot be changed. An excellent example of where this usage of the word "will" might be misunderstood is, "...for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should repent." Obviously, if God willed (thelēma) that none should perish, then none would perish. But it is the emotional desire of His compassionate heart that none of His cherished human creation should be destroyed. It can only be a desire, because their destruction is the result of the decisions they make with the free will He has given them.
Now let's look at more scripture concerning our prayer to God that uses thelēma. I John 5:14 and 15 read, "And this is the confidence which we have in Him: we are sure that if we ask anything according to His (determined) will, He listens to, and hears us. Therefore, we can be also fully assured that our prayers are as good as answered." The prerequisite to answered prayer here is asking for those things that are in agreement with what God has prepared and wants to give us. We can only ask for such things through the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit and using our Bibles as a guide.
As an interesting note, Jesus told His twelve on certain occasions whatever they prayed for would be answered, with the qualifier "if it is God's will" curiously absent. "And I Myself will grant whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified and extolled through the Son. Yes, I will grant whatever you shall ask in My Name." (John 14:13,14) "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you, that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may remain and abide in you, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give it to you." (John 15:16) "And when that time comes, you will need to ask Me no questions. I assure you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name." (John 16:23) "Up to this time you have not asked a single thing in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete." (John 16:24) "At that time you will pray in My Name, for it will be unnecessary for Me to pray to My Father on your behalf." (John 16:26)
The common thread that runs through all these verses is that Jesus had not yet been glorified and resurrected. But after Christ's resurrection and the indwelling of His Spirit, man could pray directly to the Father in the name of (by the authority of) His Son, and the power of His Spirit. No more mediation or animal sacrifices by the priests of the Law was needed in order for God to hear the requests of His people.
Jesus full well knew His twelve were going to be faithful to their task, because it was not by their power that they were chosen to accomplish it. They could ask for anything, because it was foreordained by God that they be obedient and faithful in establishing and nurturing the young church.
Although the verses above were spoken to Jesus' disciples at that time, we cannot assume that because they were specially chosen by Christ they had the unique privilege of asking for anything whereas we do not. This privilege is available to all saints because they are called to accomplish God's work. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone with steadfast faith in me will be able to do the things I do and even greater, because I must go to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name so the Father may be glorified through Me."
But none of this is possible unless we strive to be obedient to Christ's teachings. "If you abide in Me and My teachings remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask for whatever you like, and it shall be done for you." "If we are of clear conscience concerning our sins, we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we obey His commandments and practice what is pleasing to Him." These will certainly surrender to the Spirit in what to ask for.
So we can conclude, we must pray persistently and passionately by the leading of the Spirit while maintaining a faith-filled, obedient life. Then the mountains will move! If we find all these things difficult, God has graciously given us the privilege of praying for more strength!