2013-03-17 - The Blessing of Prayer
The Epistles of John ~ Part 104 ~ 1 John 5
Verses 14-15: First John has show a benefit of salvation is eternal life. The next benefit is the opportunity to come to God in prayer. This is a now blessing. It is an experience we have available to us at any time.
How have you experienced the reality of God's listening? John says we can have confidence in approaching God in prayer. What is the basis of this confidence? Whatever we ask is heard by God. He always hears our prayers. There is never a time when God doesn't hear the prayer of a believer.
It appears God will give us anything we ask, because He hears us. God is concerned with the needs of His children. He hears our requests, and He answers them. How do we reconcile this with the fact that He sometimes answers our prayers "No!"?
Obviously, John isn't teaching positive confession. He says God will give us what we ask, if we ask according to His will. The purpose of asking isn't to "force" God to do as we "demand." As we abide in Him we will be more accurately in touch with His will. As we keep His commands, loving Him and loving others, we will ask in line with that love and therefore be consistent with His will.
"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him (1 John 3:21-22).
We will ask in a way that will please the Lord. Accordingly, the promise of answered prayer is conditional upon the foundation by which we are praying. Implicit is trust in the Lord. When someone is praying for relief, which seems to be in line with God's intent - and still the answer is wait, then the assumption should be that God knows best. This is real faith, in that we are able to wait on the Lord, though the reason for waiting isn't obvious to us.
Our confidence then is grounded not in our prayers, or the wisdom behind them, but in whom God is. As we come to truly understand this, then we can find peace even in the most difficult of situations. If I understand this, I can accept that things may not proceed in my circumstances as rapidly as I might like. Instead, I need to truly be able to say, "? not my will, but Your will be done."
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