"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him"
- 1 John 5:14-15 NIV
In these verses, the apostle John assures us that we can have "confidence" in prayer. The key, he says, is praying in line with God's will. I have found that the best place to start in praying according to the will of God is with His Word. No matter what we are facing, God has instructions, insights and promises which apply to our situation. The Bible reveals God's will concerning our relationships, health, finances, education, vocation and everything else pertaining to our lives here on earth. It's up to us to search out the verses that relate to our situation, and ask the Lord how we can apply them.
Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7 NASB) It is in knowing and believing God's Word that our hearts and minds are transformed, and our wills become aligned with God's. We are then able to pray the prayers of God's own heart, and as a result, we are assured of the answer to our prayers. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) says: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." In this verse, the apostle Paul urges us to work with God for the renewal of our minds so that we will be able to prove what His perfect will is. We can cooperate with God's plan to transform our thinking by studying, believing, and meditating on His Word. In this way, we will reprogram our minds with God's truth and leave behind the worldly, negative thinking which would cause us to pray ineffectively and with little or no results.
Not only has God given us His Word to help us pray effectively, but He has also given us His Spirit. Romans 8:26 (NLT) says: "The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us." And the next verse tells us that "the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will." (v.27) God knows there will be times when we won't know how to pray correctly, and He has made special provision for us in those times through His Spirit. We don't have to be at the mercy of our emotions in trying times, but we can call upon God and ask Him to help us pray the prayers of His own heart through His Spirit. The Bible is a source of wonderful Spirit-inspired prayers which we can apply to our lives and situations. As believers, we have the privilege - and often, the obligation - to pray the same prayers that Jesus, Paul, and David did, for ourselves and others. And no matter what comes our way, we can rest assured that God has promises in His Word that we can pray and stand on for our deliverance and victory.
If we go to God with our troubles and concerns and ask Him for a promise of our very own to claim, He will show it to us. Then, it's up to us to lay hold of that promise by faith and to stand on it until our answer comes. And let's never forget that God sees our hearts. If we have a sincere desire to please Him, and we trust that He always wants the best for us, we can pray the way we feel "led" to. Even if we "miss" God, He will redirect us and turn our hearts toward His will, simply because He knows we love Him. It's my prayer that you would begin to pray with confidence, and that you would discover the joy of being in partnership with God, to see His will come to pass in your life and in this world.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray the prayers of Your heart for myself and others in every situation. May the desires of my heart never be in conflict with the desires of Yours. Give me a love for Your Word and help me to use it to renew my mind. Thank You that in times of uncertainty, I can depend on Your Holy Spirit to help me pray!
- J. M. Farro