1 John 5:14,15: Confidence and Compassion in Prayer

August 25, 2017

 

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14,15 NKJV).

 

“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: (we are sure) that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. (1 John 5:14,15 AMP)

 

I have to be honest with you! Sometimes I have a problem with prayer. That’s interesting because for several years I served as the National Director of Prayer with Promise Keepers Men’s Ministry. My main job was to set up a prayer room at every event, with as many as 100 or more prayer warriors at some venues. I prayed over each seat in the arena, and each speaker, laying on hands before they were to speak to thousands of men.

 

But there are times when I have doubts! I suppose every believer is plagued with a lack of faith from time to time. James speaks of “the prayer of faith” (James 5:15). Sometimes it’s hard to pray by faith, believing!

 

Matthew 17:20, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’”  Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

 

One of my heroes, A.W. Tozer wrote: “Men may, and often do, pray without faith (though this is not true prayer), but it is not thinkable that men should have faith and not pray. The biblical formula is The ‘prayer of faith’ (James 5:15). Prayer and faith are here bound together by the little preposition of…Faith is only genuine as it eventuates into prayer. When Tennyson wrote ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,’ he probably uttered a truth of vaster significance than even he understood. While it is not always possible to trace an act of God to its prayer-cause, it is yet safe to say that prayer is back of everything that God does for the sons of men here upon earth. One would gather as much from a simple reading of the Scriptures. What profit is there in prayer? Much every way. Whatever God can do faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith. An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the Omnipotent God and brings Him into our human affairs. Nothing is impossible to the man who prays in faith, just as nothing is impossible with God. This generation has yet to prove all that prayer can do for believing men and women.”

 

James 5:16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…” James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind”  1 Timothy 2:8, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

 

Prayer is simply communicating with the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Prayer is having a loving relationship with God, it is talking to God. It’s as simple as that. Some people believe that prayer is complicated. How do I pray? What should I say? Prayer is not difficult. Think of prayer as if you’re speaking with your best friend. God wants us to communicate with Him. He loves interacting with us. He loves for us to include Him in every part of our lives.

 

Prayer is one of the most important and most powerful spiritual tools in the Christian life. Yet if you ask most Christians about their prayer lives, you will find that many do not pray regularly and many can’t give a clear definition of how to pray effectively.

 

A lady came to D. L. Moody and told him, “I only pray to God about big problems and don’t bother God with the little things.” To which Moody replied, “To God, every problem is little.” How true! We struggle needlessly simply because we don’t ask.

 

The power of prayer doesn’t come from us; it is not from certain words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the omnipotent One who hears our prayers and answers them…The power of prayer comes from the omnipotent One who hears our prayers and answers them.  Adapted from gotquestions.org

 

Verse 14a: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him…”

 

“Confidence” in Greek means, trust, reliance, boldness. assurance , authority, sureness.

 

Ephesians 3:12: "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

“It’s our spiritual birthright to pray with confidence in our heavenly Father’s ability to intervene in any situation. He wants us to pray with boldness and courage—not because we have it all together, but rather that He holds it all together with us in mind.

 

Not everyone can pray boldly before God. Some are plagued by doubt, fear, and are afraid to ask because there’s a lack of confidence that God will answer as they desire. Yet as believers, we are compelled by the Holy Scriptures to boldly seek God’s hand of deliverance in our lives. When we learn to pray courageously with wisdom, our faith is stretched and we can’t help but to press on with greater requests to God. He wants us to pray with boldness and confidence. Why should believers pray in this manner?” –Crystal McDowell, whatchristianswanttoknow.com

 

Verse 14b: “…that if we ask anything…”

 

Has God has given us a blank check to ask Him for anything? Is God like a cosmic genie who gives us our every wish? After all doesn’t the Bible say, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). The verb translated “delight” is an imperative in the Hebrew, a command. This is not a helpful suggestion which the Psalmist sets before us…no…this is a command from God to strive to delight completely in God. “Delight”  means to be dependent upon God and to derive our pleasure from Him. “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

 

How do we delight ourselves in the Lord? By doing what pleases him and by putting his word in our hearts. Then He will put His desires in our hearts!

 

“He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humors of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.” –Matthew Henry

 

What we need is for Him to fill our minds and hearts with His thoughts. Then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him in the form of prayer. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." If we ask amiss, we are certainly not asking according to His will, and we will not receive” (James 4:3).

 

God hath not promised
skies always blue,


Flower- strewn pathways
all our lives through;

God hath not promised
sun without rain,


Joy without sorrow,
peace without pain.

God hath not promised
we shall not know


Toil and temptation,
trouble and woe;

He hath not told us
we shall not bear


Many a burden,
many a care.

But God hath promised
strength for the day,


Rest for the laborer,
light for the way,

Grace for the trials,
Help from above,


Unfailing sympathy,
undying love.

–Annie Johnson Flint–

 

Verse 14c: “…according to His will…”

 

This verse qualifies what He will do for us: “we ask…according to His will.”

 

“How many people think that prayer is persuading God to do our will or trying to make God change his mind! But that is not what prayer is. Prayer means asking God to do his will which we have embraced. In other words, when we make God's will to be our will, our will be done because it is his will, and his will is done always. If we can understand this truth, we can avoid much confusion and begin to pray aright. Prayer is saying to our heavenly Father, ‘Thy will be done’ (Matthew 6:10).  Prayer is saying to God, ‘Not my will but thine be done’ (Luke 22:42). True prayer promotes God's glory.” –P.G. Mathew, gracevalley.org

 

Verse 15: “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”

 

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13,14).

 

“We know” is  experiential knowledge, absolute, beyond a shadow of a doubt knowledge, “we know He hears us!” The perfect tense speaks of an enduring knowledge. To know with settled intuitive knowledge. –Adapted from A. T. Robertson 

 

“whatever we ask” that is, whatever we ask according to His will, in the name of Jesus Christ, for his sake, asking in faith, nothing wavering, but believing in God, and His promises. If we ask in this way we may expect to receive; and indeed we will receive what we ask for.

 

“But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6,7).

 

“the petitions” requests, this refers to the things asked, the petitions, the requests. The only other use is by Paul “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

 

Keep on asking, seeking and knocking!

 

Matthew 7:7,8,   “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

 

Please allow me to give you a few suggestions for prevailing prayer:

 

Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” James 5:16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…”

 

1. Take the offensive in prayer:

 

Ask God to give you a militant spirit. Ask God to give you a new boldness in prayer! Ask God to clothe your prayer with the authority of Calvary, the power of Pentecost and the almightiness of His name. His name, “El Shaddai” means Lord God Almighty. God’s power is unlimited, and the name “El Shaddai”  reminds us of that reality.

 

The Holy  Spirit was given at Pentecost, not to keep the church blessed and comfortable, but to make the church invincible. Our spiritual weapons are not defensive weapons but weapons of attack. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV).

 

We are not to build a bypass when Satan throws up a mountain of resistance against us. We are to challenge Satan and hurl his mountain into the sea. (Matthew 17:20).

 

We are not to hold the fort till Jesus comes to rescue us; we are to storm the “gates of hell…” and God promises, “they will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).

 

Ask God to give you a new expectancy in prayer, a holy boldness to see Christ triumph and Satan defeated. He is already a defeated foe, just claim the victory!

 

1 John3:8, “…the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give you the authority…over all the power of the enemy…” James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

1 John 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

 

Ask God to light a holy fire in you by the power of the Holy Spirit to transform your praying from weakness to prevailing power.

 

James 5:16 MSG, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” Ephesians 6:10 , “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

The Holy Spirit is here to drive out Satan and all of Gods enemies before you.

 

Isaiah 59:19, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” The word “standard” here means “banner.” Our God is “Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our banner” (Exodus 17:15), The Lord our victor. Praise the Lord! When we raise our banner, it is a sign of victory and triumph.

 

Don’t cower before Satan, never forget he is already defeated! Remember the Bible says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Note that it says, “like a roaring lion,” he is just trying to make everyone think he is ferocious, take the authority of the name of Jesus, and he will slink off with his tail between his legs. Jesus already defeated him on Calvary, we need only to claim that victory.

 

2. Saturate your soul with the Word of God.

 

It is important that we maintain our spiritual strength.

 

Ephesians 6:17, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…”

 

During prayer quote God’s Word, read the promises of God, use one or two of His promises that you can claim for victory.

 

An example of praying Scripture is found in Acts 4:24-26. After the Sanhedrin released Peter and John the early church prayed. In the middle of their prayer, they quote Psalm 2:1,2, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’”

 

Here are a couple of examples:

 

“Lord I want to thank you that You said, “If we ask anything according to [Your] will, (You) hear us.…” (1 John 5:14, my paraphrase).

 

“Lord, You told us in Your Word that ‘[Your] eyes are on the righteous, and [Your] ears are open to their cry.  The righteous cry out, and the [You] hear, and deliver them out of all their troubles’” (Psalm 34:15,17, my paraphrase).

 

Lord, You have promised to “supply all [our] need according to [Your] riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 my paraphrase).

 

When we speak and pray the Scriptures, we are coming into agreement with God, and His power is released to answer our prayers.

 

3. Use praise in your prayers:

 

There are times to intercede on behalf of others; there are times to pray for the sick, for finances, and for God’s leading. And then there are times to simply cease asking and start praising. When we praise in our prayers it gets the focus off of ourselves and on to God.

 
“In true worship the Father must be first, must be all.  The sooner I learn to forget myself in the desire that He may be glorified, the richer will the blessing be that prayer will bring to myself.  No one ever loses by what he sacrifices for the Father. This must influence all our prayer.” –Andrew Murray"

 

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he gave them a model prayer, we call it the “Lord’s prayer,” I call it the “disciples prayer.” It gives us an outline for talking to God in prayer. Jesus began this model prayer by saying: “Our Father in heaven, we honor Your holy name” (Matthew 6:9, TLB). He begins with worship and adoration.

 

In our praise, we  esteem Him, value Him, and acknowledge who and what He is. Or another way of thinking about it is that praise is simply bragging on God. “God there’s no one like you! You’re so good and faithful and merciful.” “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4).

 

In 2 Chronicles 20:12-21, Israel is facing a very difficult enemy and are about to go into battle,  “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel…a Levite of the sons of Asaph (a worship leader who wrote 12 Psalms),  in the midst of the assembly. And he said, ‘Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.’ So king Jehoshaphat prayed: ‘He bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord.  Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high…And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:  ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’” (1 Chronicles 20:18-21).

 

Worship God in your prayers. Be encouraged and pray to your heavenly Father today and every day. He really loves hearing from you! With God’s Word in your hand, and God’s praise on your lips, all the demons of hell will flee before you!

 

4. P U S H: Pray Until Something Happens:

 

If God knows all things and if God desires to give His children good things and if God hears us the first time that we pray, then why does God ask us to persist in prayer? Is there a time we should give up and stop asking? We as Christians are commanded to pray. Don't quit praying if it doesn't happen within your schedule. Our Heavenly Father knows best when to answer our prayers.

 

How long are we to pray? Until the victory comes. Until God says, “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” It may be days, weeks, months or even years, but pray until God answers or removes the burden. When God gives you a prayer assignment consider it your sacred responsibility until: The answer comes, the person or the situation is removed, God lifts the prayer concern from your heart.

 

How long should you ask? Until the answer comes. How long should you seek? Until you find. How long should you keep knocking on heaven’s door? Until God’s opens the door.

 

The greater the spiritual resistance, the more difficult the task of moving the mountain. The more entrenched Satan is, the greater the task of driving him out. 

 

It may take multiplied hours on your knees, but God is faithful and He will answer. “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

 

Isaiah 62:1 NLT , “Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.”

 

“Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man (Theophany, a special appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament) wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks. But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32:24-26)

 

Psalm 88:1,2, “O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You: incline Your ear to my cry.” Micah 7:7 NLT, “As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” Luke 18:1 NLT, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Matthew 27=6:41 NLT, Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

 

**NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English  bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB).**

 

 

 

 

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