This past weekend, my husband preached from Psalm 23. As he began, he mentioned that in his quiet time that week, when he came upon the Psalm in his daily reading, that he was tempted to skip over it. Having memorized this as a child, he felt he already “knew” what it said. However, instead of skimming through it, he read it and read it again, and the Lord spoke truths to his heart, that he was then able to preach to the people here.
This morning I had a similar moment in my own reading. When I came upon the verses, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15
I read these verses and was about to just move quickly passed them, when I sensed the Spirit of the Lord asking me, “do you really believe this?”
I think if we are not careful, we can assume we know the things of God. We can believe the lie, that because we know that story, that verse, that we can move past its truth.
Many people use the above verses and misquote and misuse them. Thinking that somehow God is like a Ginny in a bottle, waiting for our three wishes for the day.
This is a misguided notion. As I looked on this verse this morning, God showed me some truths, that changed how I prayed.
John begins by saying, this is the confidence we have in approaching God. And I asked myself, why do we have confidence? Do I have confidence when I come to God in prayer, or do I just say my prayers, not fully believing God will answer?
We have confidence dear friends not because of ourselves, but because of the blood of Christ. We have confidence that He hears, because he has told us to pray. We have confidence because the Spirit of God that lives within us intercedes on our behalf. We have confidence because the Son of God intercedes with the Father for us. The confidence comes in believing in the One who has the power to answer.
The second truth God spoke to my heart was concerning asking anything according to His will. And I wondered at my prayers, how often are my prayers focused on the things I want, rather than God’s will. God is not a Ginny waiting to give us our wishes. We can have confidence and we can know He hears and that He will answer us, if we are praying according to His good and perfect will.
You may wonder, well what if I don’t know God’s will? How do I pray? This is a great question. Yet, over and over and over again in the Scriptures God teaches us and shows us His will.
It is His will that none perish and that all come to Him in repentance. So a prayer you can be confident praying, is a prayer for the salvation of your lost loved ones and friends. This doesn’t mean they will come to Christ the moment that you pray, but you can have confidence that God hears such a prayer and that in HIs perfect time and way, He will answer.
It is His will that we grow in our faith and walks with Him. It is His will that our husband and children grow in their walks with Him. So we can come boldly before the Lord and pray that He will grow us and our families in our relationship with Him. That we become more and more like Christ.
As we search God’s Word and know it, we will know God’s will, and when we pray asking according to His will, we can know He hears.
The last truth is, that if we are praying according to His will, and we know He hears, then we can believe that He will answer that prayer.
A lot of times, my prayers don’t come from faith. They come in desperation or in hopes that God will hear and do what I’ve prayed. Yet they lack the confidence, the faith believing that God has heard and He will answer.
God longs for us to come to Him humbly as a child, bringing our request to Him. He longs for us to come to Him in faith, believing that He is able to do all things.
Yet, He desires that we come in confidence and that we pray according to His will.
It seems so often in times of prayer request, the request are mostly centered upon the sick, wanting God to heal so and so. And I’m not saying that it is not important to pray for our loved ones who are sick. But, I am saying that our focus is off.
The prayers that God hears,the prayers God is waiting to answer. Are the prayers that are focused on His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in Heaven.
The prayers that seek for God to grow His Kingdom, to build His church, to establish His name among the lost, and to change His children into His image.
It is all about Him. Shouldn’t our prayers have the same aim?
I’m convinced that they should. As I finished my quiet time, I came boldly before God not because of who I am or what I’ve done. I came in confidence only because of what Christ has done. And as I interceded for others and brought my request before the throne. I began by saying, “God, I know it is your will that……, so I pray and I ask that you would…..”
And I know that He has heard, and I will now wait in anticipation to see the great things He will do!
We serve an amazing God, may all praise and glory be given unto Him.