When you pray are you confident that your prayers are being answered or even heard? This is probably one of the greatest concerns most Christians have as they walk with Jesus. I know there have been times in my own life when I have prayed and wondered about the prayers I prayed. I recently shared about persistence in your pray life. However, the Apostle John gives us some more information about prayer that is important for us to understand today in our own prayer lives. It is possible that we can have confidence in our prayer life if we understand that God honors the prayers of those who have a salvation relationship with Jesus and are obedient to His commandments and His will.
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 (ESV)
First point John makes is that it requires that if we want are prayers to be heard our prayers must be in accordance with God's will. This confidence is found in our ability to believe Jesus is who He says He is:
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 (ESV)
Once we have the confidence in Jesus than we know that if what we pray is within the will of God than our prayers can be answered. You see Jesus taught the Apostles to always pray for God's will to be done:
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
The rub here is that it's hard to know what God's will is if you don't know God to begin with. However, this is why John and the other writers of Scripture wrote down all of these testimonies we have in the Bible;
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 (ESV)
With the promise of eternal life we have received the promise of the Holy Spirit that testifies to the truth of scripture and the promise of God;
6 This is he who came by water and bloodJesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 1 John 5:6 (ESV)
With the Holy Spirit we are able to accept the witness that God provides through scripture and within our hearts;
10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don't believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don't believe what God has testified about his Son.11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life. 1 John 5:10-12 (NLT)
Today do you know the true testimony of Jesus Christ? That he suffered and died on the cross for the sins of every man, woman, and child that has ever been born and will be born into this sin filled world. That on the third day Jesus arose from the dead and walked among the world for forty days to give evidence of His resurrection. And that he ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you and me because we have accepted Him as the Lord and Savior of our lives. If you have that confidence and are walking in accordance with His will and living in obedience to His commands than when you pray you can have confidence that what you pray will be answered in His time and for His glory.
However, if none of that is true for you than its time to examine what it all means to you. Because it all begins with you and your relationship to Jesus Christ; if he was just a great moral teacher and the testimonies found in scripture about Him are not true to you; than this must change. Without this relationship the only prayer God has to honor from you is the prayer for Salvation which is where we all need to begin as we walk in the light of God's Word. Be blessed today.
Rev. Brian H. Mathis CSC
Ordained Minister Church of God, Cleveland TN
Currently serving as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Westminster Baptist Church
Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary MDiv in Chaplain Studies