One of the perplexing struggles I have had with prayer throughout my faith journey is not whether or not God can, but whether or not God will. I believe firmly in a God "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:30). This belief in the power of God has always been without question for me. What I have questioned at times is whether God will? The paradox is that this doubt about whether God will has the potential to cripple our belief that God can, thus disempowering the way we pray.
We should most certainly pray according to God's providential will, that is His ultimate will for humankind as revealed in Scripture. This acts as a guide to whether or not our prayers are aligned with God's established character and purpose. However, I am coming to think that I should not allow my uncertainty about God's personal will for specific situations to diminish my prayers to a powerful God. In other words, don't let the fact of whether God will stop you from having the faith to pray passionately to a God who can!
In his book, The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson writes, "With God, it's never an issue of 'Can he?' It's only a question of 'Will He?' And while you don't always know if He will, you know He can. And because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence." This is a liberating and powerful position to pray from, as my faith is strengthened by what I know (Can He?) and stimulated by what I don't know (Will He?), generating a faith-fueled exchange between the human and divine.
Pray passionately to a God who can and wait expectantly to see if God will.