1 John 5: 13-17
John summarizes most of his letter here in this small section, but in doing so, he gives us a very real insight into our relationship with God, the confidence we have in it, and the way we can approach him.
John tells his audience that the entire reason for this letter is that they would believe in Jesus and KNOW they have eternal life. And because of this standing with God, anything we ask in line with his will, he will answer it.
Some people will take this passage to mean our prayers must align with God’s specific will for a person’s life or it won’t be answered. In other words, if you’re not asking for something that fits God’s step by step idea for you, you’re wasting your breath, which doesn’t seem to make sense.
God hears our prayers; we even see Abraham convince God to change his plans when he prayed. So, our prayers are definitely heard by God. But what does John mean when he says to ask “according to his will” and “he will hear us”?
God has told us things he wants for us. He wants us to love more. He wants us to be more patient. He wants us to care for the lost. He wants us to have the courage to share our faith. He wants us to be more like him, and know him better.
Often times, our prayers are for things that we do not know God’s will in. Short of a miraculous revelation, we don’t know which job to take, who we should speak to, and why some of the bad things happen. But, we do know the things mentioned above. God wants to know us more. He wants us to love him more. He wants us to love others. How often do we pray for that?
If you want to see your prayer life change, and really see God move, start praying for things that he has already promised he would want to do for you. Start asking God for things we know are in his will, like the lost being saved, like the poor being fed, and like the church being raised up to help the hurting and the lost. You want to see your prayers changed, start asking God for the things he wants to give us. Start looking to be in accord with his plan, instead of trying to make him in accord with your own.