This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
I think the above verse can easily get misunderstood when taken out of the context, let’s look at the verses around it
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (we’ll look more into this one tomorrow!)
This is a tricky verse, because upon first glance we think that if we ask anything in His will it is given to us, and if it is not given to us then it is not in His will. but it is important to note that God often does NOT answer our prayers in the way we expect or imagine.
When we are able to let this truth sink in, we see that God responds to EVERY prayer we pray and in our narrow focus, we look for his answer from our perspective instead of HIS perspective.
The reality is the “confidence” that we display in approaching God through prayer, is not our human confidence, it is confidence from the Holy Spirit working inside of us. The second reality is that the closer we are to God, the more we will ask for things in accordance to His will.
I posed this question to my bible study class last week, “Can we pray outside of God’s will?”
Most people nodded their head “yes”, but only one person gave me a reason to back up her answer.
Here is a similar example to hers:
In one of my small groups I led last spring, a lady asked that her tax refund come soon (she still had not received it and needed the money) so in my prayer that evening I declared that her tax return would be in her bank account in the morning, and lo and behold she emailed the group that when she checked her bank account in the morning, she noticed that her refund had been deposited.
Does that mean that my declaration was God’s will? What happened if it wasn’t in God’s will?
With Jesus inside of us we can be confident to KNOW that God hears our prayers, and when we speak words that may not be God’s will, we can rest in knowing that the Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf, and our prayer will be heard.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:27
“If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith.” – Charles Spurgeon
Focus Question: (I realize I didn’t really ease into this topic for the series, I just kind of jumped in head first!)
1. How would our prayers be different if we realized that praying for the will of God does not depend on the words we say, but what is in our heart?
I look forward to hearing your comments below!