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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

October 30, 2013

1 John 5:14-15

  1. Verses 14-15. Our text falls into two sections. First (5:14-15), John states the general principle, which has both a promise and a qualification. Then in 5:16-17 which we will look at next week, he gives a specific example of how we should apply the promise, and again he gives a promise and a qualification. In each section, we have to grapple with a difficult problem. John has already brought up this idea of having confidence in prayer and of a promise of answered prayer, if we are obedient to God (3:21-22). Here, he repeats it for emphasis. Prayer is not optional for God’s children. It is absolutely essential, because if you do not pray, you are not living by faith in God. If you do not pray, you are trusting in yourself, which is exactly how the world lives. Note five things about this prayer promise:

    1. (1). WE SHOULD HAVE CONFIDENCE WHEN WE APPROACH GOD IN PRAYER. Our confidence is never in ourselves, but rather in Christ. After reminding us of our sympathetic high priest, the author of Hebrews states (4:16), “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (see also, Eph. 3:12). Our confidence is never in anything in ourselves, but only in Jesus Christ, whose blood gives us access to the very throne of God.

    2. (2). WE MUST COME INTO HIS PRESENCE WHEN WE PRAY. We have confidence before Him (5:14). Prayer is not just mumbling through a list or repeating some formula. Prayer is coming before the living God, humbling ourselves in His presence. If we have not come before God, we haven’t prayed.

    3. (3). WE COME CONFIDENTLY INTO HIS PRESENCE AND ASK. As James (4:2) pointedly reminds us, “You do not have because you do not ask.” He adds (4:3), “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” We need to be sure to ask (not assume), but we need to ask with the proper motives, that our requests would further God’s purpose and glory.

    4. (4). IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARS US. Since God hears everything and even knows the unspoken secrets of our hearts, John means that He hears us favorably by coming to our aid. Our heavenly Father knows the cry of His children. He hears our prayers. See Exodus 3:7, Psalm 18, 34, Isaiah 65:24, Jeremiah 33:3).

    5. (5). IF WE KNOW THAT HE HEARS US, “WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE REQUESTS WHICH WE HAVE ASKED FROM HIM” (5:15). The idea of verse 15 is that we know that we presently have whatever we have asked in accord with His will. We may not actually see it for many years, but it’s as good as done. Abraham prayed for a son and God promised to give him that son. But it was 25 years before Abraham held Isaac in his arms. There is much in Scripture about waiting on God. So we would be mistaken to think that God is promising that if we pull the prayer lever, all the goodies instantly come out of the chute. Sometimes in His purpose and wisdom, God delays the answers to our prayers for years. Yet, in another sense, He has already granted the requests. Usually, we should continue praying until the request is actually granted (Luke 18:1-8). At other times (I can’t give you a rule for this), you should stop praying and begin thanking God, even though you haven’t yet received what you were praying for.

  2. THE QUALIFICATION: WE MUST ASK ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL. Many who do not know God pray, but they are not seeking God’s will in prayer. Rather, they are trying to use Him (whoever they conceive Him to be) to get what they want. But biblical prayer is not trying to talk God into giving us what we want. Rather, it is submitting our will to His will. It is praying, as Jesus instructed (Matt. 6:10), “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It would be the height of stupidity to pray for your will to be done as opposed to God’s will. For one thing, it would mean that you know better than God what is best for your life. But He knows everything and He has assured us that He loves us far more than the best earthly father loves his children. So it only makes sense to submit to and pray for His will for your life and for others."Also, to pray for your will against God’s will would be asking God to abdicate His sovereignty over the universe and submit to you as the sovereign! Again, this would be the epitome of stupidity! Paul teaches us in Romans 8:26-27 that the Spirit of God actually intercedes for us to help us in prayer. The Spirit of God fashions our prayers to line up with the will of God. So even when you don’t know how to pray about an issue, the Spirit of God intercedes or speaks on your behalf in accordance to God’s will.

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