1 John 5:14-15
“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.”
Any discussion about confidence in prayer and receiving from God begins with the simple teaching of Jesus. He plainly taught about confidence toward the Father in His Sermon on the Mount. Seeking God and His righteousness first is foundational to receiving anything we need (Matthew 6:25-34). Jesus begins his teaching with what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:5-16).
Here Jesus teaches that the purpose of prayer is to reveal and advance God’s Kingdom on the earth as it is in heaven – through us. So prayer will obviously have to be according to His will, not ours. The prayer principle is quite simple. We commit ourselves to take care of God’s business because He is committed to taking care of ours. Knowing God is committed to our well being eliminates worry and anxiety, which is the whole point of Matthew 6.
Discovering God’s Will
Discovering God’s will in any situation requires a little thought and some patience, and is actually quite simple. God’s written word supplies the foundation and direction we need to rest our confidence on in prayer. He has provided all we need in life through His exceedingly great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Our confidence comes from knowing that God’s Word is His will revealed. He only promises things He intends to do, so our praying begins with His promises. We’re simply asking Him to do what He’s already said He would do if we would ask Him.
So in essence, knowing what God has promised enables us to know the answers before we pray. This is why Jesus could say “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
Consider these words by nineteenth-century evangelist Charles G Finney: “Where there is a general promise in the Scriptures which you may reasonably apply to the particular case before you. If its real meaning includes the particular thing for which you pray, or if you can reasonably apply the principle of the promise to the case, there you have evidence…* “There is a vast amount of general promises and principles laid down in the Bible, which Christians might make use of, if they would only think. Whenever you are in circumstances to which the promises or principles apply, there you are to use them.”**
God does not want His family to worry or stress over the needs of everyday life. He has already given us His word on those things. We must take His written word as fact and train ourselves to think, speak and live according to those redemptive facts revealed in the Scriptures (Matthew 7:24-25 & 1 John 3:21-23).
Our original passage at the start of this article instructs us to have confidence. We know God has heard our prayer, thus we know that He will answer (we have what we’ve asked..). In 1 John 5:15 the present active tense of “we have” is used here to stress the fact that God’s promise is as certain now as the actual answer will eventually be.
So when you pray remember to be specific, rest your faith on God’s word, Be patient, Be persistent, and Be Encouraged! -JSP
*Charles G. Finney, Revival Lectures (Fleming H. Revell Company), 78