Praying with confidence

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 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. (1Jo 5:13–15)

Salvation through the name

There are two key words in v13: the word 'name' and the word 'know' (Greek: to understand, to realize). God wants his children to know, to understand and to realize that they have eternal life through the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.

John's letters continue in the theme of his Gospel. In his Gospel he wrote:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (Joh 20:31)

Both of those verses speak about possessing eternal life through belief in the name of Jesus. But how can we have eternal life by believing in his name? We can do that because the name of Jesus represents the person of Jesus.

Act 10:43b says:

'…everyone who believes in him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'

The name represents the person who hung and died on the cross for our sins and through whom we have forgiveness. God wants us to know, to understand and to realize that those who believe in the name of his Son, have (at this very moment) eternal life through his name (Act 4:12).

Praying according to God's will

The key word in v14 is the word 'confidence' which means reliance or certainty. God is saying that this is something we can rely on and be certain of.

What can we rely on and be certain of? That if we ask anything according to his will we will receive what we are asking for. That is a powerful promise and means that if we pray according to God's will our prayers will be answered.

So let's summarise what God is saying to us:

This is the confidence, this is the certainty you have when you approach me in prayer, that if you ask anything according to my will, I will hear you. And if you know that I have heard you—whatever you have asked for—then you know, you can be certain, that you will receive it.

Having heard God speak to us, let us take this truth and apply it to our lives. God's will is revealed in his Word; we need to read his Word until we become certain of his will. Once we are certain of his will we can pray with confidence, knowing that our prayers will be answered. Let's look at two examples.

Praying for healing

One of the main problems Christians have in praying for healing is that they are not sure it is God's will to heal them. God's will is revealed in his Word and, with respect to healing, he has made his will abundantly clear:

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…. (Psa 103:2)

The God who forgives all of my sins, also heals all of my diseases. And the word 'all' means all.

We don't doubt that God forgives all of our sins, so why should we doubt that he heals all of our diseases—he says so in the same verse and tells us not to forget the benefits of knowing him. So, when I pray for my healing I pray with absolute confidence, knowing that my prayers will be answered because I'm praying in accordance with God's will.

Praying for people to be saved

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…. (1Ti 1:15)

Jesus Christ came into the world specifically to save sinners so, when we pray for sinners to be saved, we are praying in the will of God.

Everyone needs to hear the gospel and people are being born into the world every second of every day. However, evangelists and ministers of God's Word, having completed their work, are leaving this earth and going to their reward. That means that the following words of Jesus are relevant to every generation:

Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.' (Mat 9:37–38)

When we ask God to raise up and send out workers into the world to reap souls for his kingdom, we are praying in accordance with his will and we know that our prayers will be answered.

Conclusion

Once we have discovered God's will on any subject, we should pray in that will with complete confidence, knowing that every prayer is being answered by our Father in heaven and is having an effect somewhere on earth.

We may not see the answers with our own eyes—they may not even be answered in our lifetime—but we know that they will be answered because God has promised to answer them.

Brethren, let us pray!

Michael Graham
November 2001

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

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