“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
that if we ask anything
“If we ask” presumes expectation. Since the Christian is certain that he possesses eternal life (5:13), he can be confident that God answers prayer.
We must know the will of God to have confidence in prayer.
Unanswered prayer is an enigma to many today. They experiment around the edges of prayer but never get serious with it. They do not pray with certainty. Sometimes they use prayer as the “last resort.”
Most mystery about prayer revolves around the nature of prayer. Some launch attempts at prayer but give up because of their perceptions about what prayers are all about. Then they lose confidence in prayer altogether because God did not answer their prayer. They assume that prayer fails to meet their needs.
Some Christians use prayer as a genie that persuades God to do what they want. If they rub the genie the right way, they get what they want. This is a parody of prayer. By this, they make outlandish demands on God that they believe is their right. God promises to meet our needs, not our “greed.” This is praying “according to our lusts,”
Ja 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Genuine prayer prays in God’s will and according to God’s nature. Prayer outside God’s will is an insult to His integrity. There is a wide range wherein we can pray. We pray for what God requires, not what we desire.
The act of prayer is simple, but the characteristics of prayer are not simple. We can have confidence in prayer because God delights for Christians to take Him at His word. He loves bold faith and bold prayer (He 4:14-16; He 10:19).
Prayer is not an endeavor to move God to see things our way. It is not an attempt to change God’s values or standards. God is not willing to give His child something that is not good for him. God wants to give what is in the best interest of the child of God. God does not pander to self-gratification.
Ph. 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Our prayers must align themselves with the will of God and be consistent with the character and plan of God for the universe. Jesus said, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
Prayer is more than submitting wishes to God. We can have confidence that God will answer our prayers if we ask in His will by faith. The more we grasp God’s will, the more effective our prayer life will be.