This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.1 John 5:14
When I was a boy in Montana, about the only reading matter we had in the long winter months was a Sears and Roebuck catalog. It had its limits as reading material, but what a tremendous number of things were included! It took us weeks to go through only one section of it. We could order anything we had the money to pay for, but it would have been utterly futile to have sent in an order for something that was not in the catalog. And so it is with prayer. Within the will of God there are tremendous things, vast numbers of gifts, that He has provided for His own. The will of God includes all that we need. All that we really want is available to us and to our loved ones and friends within the will of God. There is nothing we need to pray for outside of it. Outside are only things that harm, injure, and destroy us.
Perhaps we do not know exactly whether a request is the will of God for us, and the examples of Scripture make clear that it is not wrong to ask even for these things. But we must then always add, as Jesus Himself added in the Garden of Gethsemane,
yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42), for prayer is designed only to obtain that which is within the will of God. Thus, John says, when you know that what you are asking for is within the will of God because you have found a promise of God in Scripture or because as you have sought the mind of God you have experienced a deep and settled conviction in your heart from the Holy Spirit, you know that He hears. God always hears every prayer that is voiced within the boundaries of His will.
Jesus could say,
I thank you that you have heard me (John 11:41), because everything He did lay within the boundaries of the will of God. That brings us then to the certainty of prayer, the certainty of having:
If we know that He hears us, John says,
then we know that we have obtained the request that we made of Him. Think of that! If we know it is according to His will, then we know it is heard, and if we know it is heard, we know that we have it. God has already granted the request. In other words, God never says no, except to that which lies outside His will. Do you dare to believe that?
God plays no favorites. He has intimates, but anyone who moves along the program He has outlined and desires to be His intimate, can be. Anyone can who will, but the secret of prayer is to believe that God has granted everything we ask within His will. The secret is to take.
You have it, John says.
We know that we have obtained the request made of Him. He is not trying to kid himself or to pretend that God has given him something. What he is saying is that when we pray, and the request is made in the will of God, then the answer is absolutely sure, and it is only a question of God's timing as to when it appears. We can take from Him and thank Him for that which has been given, expecting it to appear in God's time.
Father, thank You for Your Word. Grant that I may be obedient to it and obey it not only in praying for others but also for myself
Prayer is designed only to obtain that which is within the will of God. After we pray, are we left in the worry that perhaps prompted us or do we have confidence? Why?