Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Confidence in Prayer

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
When we do not have confidence that God answers our prayers (in the Bible, to “hear” is to answer), we will not be very inclined to pray. A lot of Christians pray with little confidence and little expectation that they will receive the answer they need. Instead, they salt their prayers with “if it be thy will.”

That’s well and good for prayers of consecration, when you’re looking for direction and committing your way to the Lord. But the apostle John is talking here about petitioning prayer, and that is about praying “according to His will.” Now, he is not speaking of the will of God as some mysterious thing that God plays close to the chest and about which we cannot know but must continually guess. That leads to a sort of fatalism, and “if it be Thy will” becomes an escape clause when our prayers are not answered — “Oh, well, I guess that just wasn’t God’s will.”

But John is speaking of the will of God as something that we can know. Indeed, the Scriptures are full of the will of God. He makes it known at every turn — through His words, His deeds, His promises.

So, for example, when we go to the Lord about a particular need, we do not have to add, “If it be Thy will,” because God has already revealed His will about that: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). When we add “if it be Thy will” where God has already revealed His will, we are not standing in faith but in doubt. Faith comes claiming the promise.

When we know and understand the will of God, and we pray according to it, in agreement with it, claiming and confessing it, we can pray with confidence, knowing that God will hear and give us the answer we seek. And when we have confidence that God answers our prayers, we will be going to Him regularly about everything.