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TO CHEW ON: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us." 1 John 5:14
I love the way John describes the attitude to prayer here. The one who prays does it in "confidence." It's the same word used to describe how the disciples spoke following Peter and John standing up to the Jewish council and their prayer for boldness—translated "boldness"—in Acts 4:31.
[Confidence - parrhesia. This is outspokenness, unreserved utterance, freedom of speech, frankness, candour, cheerful courage. … exhibiting spiritual power and authority - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 1497.]
- But there is a condition to this kind of bold prayer—or any prayer for that matter—being answered. It is prayer "according to His will."
Other places in the New Testament give more conditions to God answering our requests with "yes":
- We ask in Jesus' name - John 14:13,14; 15:16; 16:23,24.
- We abide in Him and His words abide in us - John 15:7.
- We have faith - Matthew 5:22; James 1:6.
- We are righteous in life and fervent in prayer - 1 John 3:21,22; James 5:16.
My Bible's commenter on 1 John (where I got the above list of conditions and scriptures) makes this sum-up statement about prayer:
"One who abides in Christ, and whose words abide in Him, who prays in the name of Jesus, that is, in accord with His character and nature, and is full of faith and righteousness is not inclined to pray anything contrary to His will. … Genuine prayer is not an attempt at precise means of getting God to meet our desires and demands; but rather in subordinating our will to His, we open the doorway to His fullest blessings being released in our lives" - Peter E. Prosser - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1789,90 (emphasis added)
Before I pray I don't, and I'm sure you don't ether, check myself and my prayers against a list like the one above to see whether they qualify. I just pray.
However, such a list is a good one to refer back to from time to time, especially when we puzzle over why the answers to some prayers take so long in coming. And if we and our prayers are meeting the conditions, we keep up our confident praying.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to persist in prayer for people, circumstances, and issues in my own life that need Your intervention. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.