Verse: I John 5:15-15
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 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.

Ok. I won’t pretend that I’m sailing toward this one all easy-going. At face value, this feels too simplistic and a bit wrong, as if it is saying that God will give us our every ask, no holds barred. But there are a couple of items here that make this a little bit more than a magical Santa Clause situation. One item is that phrase, “according to his will” which reminds me of how Jesus prayed, before his death, for there to be another way to accomplish our redemption. He asked that there be another way, but submitted himself anyway to the Father, saying “not my will, but yours be done”(Luke 22:42). He knew he was heard, and because of his relationship with the Father he could ask for what he deeply wanted, and also knew that the answer would very possibly not be yes.

Prayer is incredible. I have seen God answer prayers – simple small prayers, and big, ambitious prayers. I’ve also prayed sincerely for the Lord to intervene in specific ways, and it didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t heard. I know that. But I have to submit my desires to the will of God.

The second thing that I want to mention is the context. The verse before this talks about eternal life. At first this seems a confusing lead-in , but maybe it’s an important reminder to keep our perspective correct. This life on earth is not the end. It’s just a drop in the bucket, and God’s timing is not limited by it. So when we don’t feel a prayer has been answered, we should remember that we probably don’t have all the information. God has to know better than we do, and even though we don’t understand all that he does (or doesn’t do), he is trustworthy.

When we pray, and ask God for what we need, or for someone else’s needs, we have an opportunity to see God work, and know that we were a part of it. It builds our faith, and grows our trust in Him. It opens our eyes to what God is doing, and draws us closer in relationship with Him. And perhaps, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, we will get to see even more ways that God has answered our prayers, but we could not understand in the moment. One thing is for sure, when we don’t pray or bring God our requests, we miss the chance to get closer to the one who gave us life. God changes things, and for some reason, he loves to use us in his process.

Lord, you’ve given us examples to follow of how to pray, and assured us that we are heard. Thank you for your kindness, and patience with us! Forgive us for forgetting to bring you our needs! We want to pray more faithfully.

Author: Emily Costa