When I was a boy in Montana, about the only reading matter we had in the long winter months was a Sears and Roebuck catalog. It had its limits as reading material, but what a tremendous number of things were included! It took us weeks to go through only one section of it.
We could order anything we had the money to pay for, but it would have been utterly futile to have sent in an order for something that was not in the catalog. And so it is with prayer. Within the will of God there are tremendous things, vast numbers of gifts, that He has provided for His own….
The will of God includes all that we need. All that we really want is available to us and to our loved ones and friends within the will of God. There is nothing we need to pray for outside of it. Outside are only things that harm, injure, and destroy us.
Perhaps we do not know exactly whether a request is the will of God for us, and the examples of Scripture make clear that it is not wrong to ask even for these things. But we must then always add, as Jesus Himself added in the Garden of Gethsemane,
yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42), for prayer is designed only to obtain that which is within the will of God. Thus, John says, when you know that what you are asking for is within the will of God because you have found a promise of God in Scripture or because as you have sought the mind of God you have experienced a deep and settled conviction in your heart from the Holy Spirit, you know that He hears. God always hears every prayer that is voiced within the boundaries of His will.