“And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
The word “and” shows that John continues to discuss the certainty of answered prayer from verse 14. If we know God’s will and pray according to it, we know that God will answer our prayer.
if we know that He hears us,
God “hears” all prayers because He is all-knowing, but He only hears those prayers sympathetically under certain conditions (“if”).
Note the repetition of the word “know” in this verse. “Know” is a word of assurance. Corresponding confidence of assured answer to prayer follows upon the conviction of having been heard. We “know” that God hears us as a result of Spirit-imparted information.
whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
John conditioned “whatever” with “according to His will” in the previous verse. We know that God will answer “whatever” we ask in God’s will.
When a child of God believes God’s promises in prayer, God moves His hand for that believer.
God has specific ground rules for answered prayer. Here are several qualifications to answered prayer:
Praying in Jesus’ name (prayer that is consistent with His person and work and based on that authority), Jn 14:13-14; 16:23-24
Abiding in fellowship (the Spirit-filled life), Jn 15:7; Ps 66:18; Ja 4:3
Ask in faith, Ja 1:5-8; Je 33:3
Ask according to God’s will, 1 Jn 5:14
God never violates Himself to answer our prayers. He will not contradict His holiness to answer prayer. As a parent will not give a sharp knife to a small child, so God will not give certain things to His children. God will not give us something that will hurt us. He loves us too much to do that.
Mt 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
On the other hand, God does give us things we ask according to His will. God wants to provide you with more than you imagine, just as you give your children more than oatmeal and underwear. If we capitalize on this privilege of prayer, He will do amazing things for us.
Pr 15:8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.”
Pr 15:29, “The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
Lu 11:1, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Lu 18:1, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart….”
Ac 6:4, “…but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Ac 12:5, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”
Ro 12:12, “…continuing steadfastly in prayer….”
Eph 6:18, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”
1 Th 5:17, “…pray without ceasing…”
1 Pe 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers…”
Accept God’s challenge to pray.