This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
On yesterday’s evening news, I saw a story in which the President was meeting with a group of businessmen. In fact, there have been many similar reports lately of citizens responding to invitations to visit the American leader at the White House. I’m still waiting for my invitation, but I’m not holding my breath.
A few years ago, a friend of mine visited Washington and successfully had his picture taken with President Bush, albeit a cardboard cutout representation.
Meetings with high ranking officials in government and business are hard to attain. However, you and I have been given an open invitation to visit with God anytime we want. Not only will he meet with us at the time and place of our choosing, He will listen to anything we request… IF we ask according to His will.
Just in case you were wondering, if He hears, He grants our requests. “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (v15)
Praying in God’s will is productive prayer. We get what we ask for. But how? How can you know for certain that God is listening and will grant your request?
The prayers that get God’s attention are those based on His word from a pure heart and proper motivation. God will never act contrary to His word, and He will do what is in our best interest and that of those for whom we pray. (Mt 7:11)
When my boys were younger, they begged. They begged in the grocery store, the toy store, and frequently after watching TV ads aimed at kids. But I didn’t give them everything they wanted. Why not? Everything they asked for wasn’t in their best interest. Of course, there were many things we couldn’t afford to give them, but that’s not a problem for God.
God gives because He loves us. And some things He gives us when we are willing to put in the effort to attain it. Remember what Jesus said? “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7) In the original language, Jesus’ directive meant to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking.
I’m not saying that God won’t answer your prayer by dropping the answer in your lap. Sometimes His answers come swiftly. Other times, His favorable response comes years later after you have sought and knocked.
His will, for example, is for His disciples to carry His Gospel into the world. But for those who have taken that command seriously, accomplishing that goal didn’t come overnight and was met with varying degrees of success. God’s will is based upon His master plan as revealed in the Bible. The more we study His word the more confidently we can pray.
You have been uniquely designed for a purpose within his master plan. When you pray to fulfill that purpose then you are praying according to His will.
Let’s revisit the example of God’s mandate for carrying the Gospel into the world. There was considerable difference in how the Great Commission was accomplished by the first disciples. In our times, there’s a big difference between Billy Graham and the pastor of your church. Each has been given different spiritual gifts, talents, and opportunities.
If God has given you a talent — that’s His will. Your spiritual gifts and unique abilities are His will. Loving others is His will. Acting upon His word is His will.
Praying confidently according to His will is, as the old people used to say, “Standing on the promises.” When you find a passage of scripture that speaks to your concern, and you have a correct contextual understanding of the verse(s), pray it back to God expectantly without doubting.
Praying in His will is listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit to confirm your request is in God’s will. And in those times when you don’t know how to pray remember that the Spirit intercedes on your behalf. In Romans 8:27 we read, “… the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Is there habitual sin in your life? It is impossible to ask according to God’s will when you are living contrary to His will. Don’t just pray that He’ll forgive you for your sin, but repent. Turn away from it and request His help to get that sinful behavior out of your life once and for all.
When your desire is to honor and glorify God with your life, and your objective is to please Him with love and devotion, you can confidently ask whatever you want.
What is it you need to request from Him today? No burden is too small. No challenge is too great. God loves you and wants to hear what’s on your heart right now.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Walk by the Spirit
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.