” and this is the confidence that we have in [H]im, that, if we ask anything according to [h]is will, [H]e heareth us. And if we know that [H]]e heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desired of [H]im. (1 John 5:14-15)
There are truths in Scripture, that, if read quickly and poorly we will not understand them properly and we will walk away with unsound doctrine. We will also walk away doubting our Lord and His Word. The doctrine of prayer is certainly one of these doctrines. Many have misunderstood the Word of God to say, God will answer all your prayers in the fashion you desire, “Ask anything in [M]y [N]ame and I will do it.”
The above passage and the quoted passage sounds pretty cut and dry. Christ and John teach that God will do what ever we ask. However, this is not the meaning. In the quoted passage at the top of our article has the caveat, “…if we ask anything according to [H]is will, H]e heareth us…” Also, in the passage in the last paragraph it is written, “Ask anything in [M]y [N]ame…” We must understand these caveats if we are to understand Scripture’s teaching on prayer.
To ask anything in Christ’s [N]ame is to ask for anything that He, Himself, would ask for. To ask anything “according to [H]is will…” is to ask for anything that He, Himself, would approve of. Therefore, if you ask for something and you receive it not, you can rest assured it was not according to His will and/or it was something He would not seek.
There are other possibilities, also. Possibility, 1. It is a request, which He has chosen not to answer, yet. Sometimes God will not answer a request for years. I have waited for His answer on somethings for over (15) fifteen years. Some prayers will not be answered until, “We all get to Heaven, what a day that shall be…” Sometimes, God will answer you, yet, it is in a way you do not recognize. In other words, God will answer the root request while you are looking for the flower of the prayer. You may request a certain car or home. You are watching for a certain car or home. You may never get that car or home but you may get something else. You may think God did not pay attention to your specific request only to find out you got something far better, This is God answering the root request.
2. You must realize and believe that God always answers you even when you do not receive your request. It is imperative that we, as believers, understand that He always answers us. God, like our earthly parents will often say, “No.” This may seem like a cheap answer or a way to protect God and unanswered prayers but it is not. It is a simple fact, God will often say, “No.” This was covered in the first paragraphs. We saw that God will not answer prayers unless they are according to His will and/or something Christ would seek. However, sometimes God will simple choose not to say, yes. there have been time when I have asked for things that I know Christ would seek and are in accordance to God’s perfect and revealed will and He still said, “NO.” What do we say to that? God simple chose to refuse, case closed. You can ask until the day you go to Heaven and He will continue to refuse period.
3. Sometimes God says, “No” because it is not according to “YOUR WILL.” Yes, you read that right. Sometimes we ask for things that we, in the future, will be sorry for. Garth Brooks sang a song called, Thank God for unanswered prayers.” This is true for every born again child of God. I remember in my late teen years and very early twenties that I was in love and loved a girl. She was my first true love. To make a long story and probably familiar story short, we dated for almost (4) four years. We broke up and my heart broke, too. It was one of the roughest times in my young life. The odd thing was i broke up with her. I prayed and prayed for another chance. I fell…no, I walked into drinking and other self destructive actions. This girl tried to help but I was so angry with God that I was mean to her, my mother, my grandmother, etc.
I dated other women for a time and then met my last and best love, my wife. You see, the point is this -if God would have answered my prayer for a second chance with my first love, I would have never met (humanly speaking) my last and best love. I would not have the (3) three best daughters in all of the world, I would not have the friendship with my in laws that i do and I would not be serving God in my ministries. You see, God knew my will better that I did. He said, “No, Just wait a little as I will answer your root request.” I also learned that though I rebelled and rebelled well, God still loved me and cared for me. Ultimately it was God’s unwavering kindness and love that crushed me into submission…My readers, God is So So Good.
In our title we ask, “really?” and “Are you sure.” We have answered both but, in case you missed our answer, “Yes, Really,” and “We are more sure of this truth than of many others things, like the grass being green and the sky being blue.”
In light of all of the above, what do we do when God does not answer us in the affirmative? We do what we did before. We love Him, we trust Him, and we continue to serve Him, faithfully. We can still inquire of Him regarding our petition. Scripture does teach us to do so, however, there does seem to be a time when our petitioning should cease, per Paul’s thorn in the flesh. How does one know if the petitioning should cease or continue? Methinks there are a few ways to go about this. 1. Seek to be extra sensitive to God’s will, this will take prayer and training, but it will come in time. Once you obtain this sensitivity or discernment, you will know when to stop. 2. Be honest with yourself and God, what is the true and pure purpose of your request…His glory, your benefit, or another’s or all (3) three? 3. Would God be more glorified by your present circumstance or by granting your request?…be honest. 4. Are you beseeching God from a place of flesh or spirit? These are considerations for ceasing or persevering in prayer.
Another consideration in the area of prayer is sin. Sin must be factored in to one’s prayer life. Depending upon who you listen to concerning sin and prayer, you will depart in hopelessness or hopefulness. Some teach that any sin will obstruct answers to prayer. This is, of course, false teaching. Others will teach that habitual and willful sin will obstruct answered prayer, this teaching we find to be accurate. However, If one’s attitude toward this habitual sin and any other sin is that of contriteness, sorrow, frustration, anger, etc. one is in a good place. If we confess our sins, God, for Christ’s sake, will forgive us. If we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Our Lord Jesus.
We have spoken and written often on ceaseless prayer. If we could preach and teach upon only (2) two subjects for the rest of our life, we would proclaim the sovereignty of God and the Blessedness of Ceaseless Prayer. Ceaseless prayer is not saying your prayers on your knees, 24-7. No, ceaseless prayer allows you “to be instant in prayer.” Ceaseless prayer eliminates that coldness when coming to God after a long absence. Ceaseless prayer begins in the morning and continues throughout the night hour, until the next morning. in other words, Ceaseless prayer never ends and never begins once it has begun. Ceaseless prayer is thinking upon God all through your day, it is making decisions based upon His revealed will and His glory, it is praising Him and giving much thanks to Him. Ceaseless prayer is making your requests known unto God and watching for His decision, it is praying in the place of those who cannot pray, this is intercessory prayer. Ceaseless prayer is entering God’s Presence and never leaving. Ceaseless prayer can be wordless prayer if our thoughts are directed to God. Ceaseless prayer is the committing of all things to God, Who judgeth righteously. Ceaseless prayer is wishing “Godspeed” to police officers, firemen, first-responders, snow-plowers, etc. when they cross your path. Ceaseless prayer is God-think. Ceaseless prayer is praying for those God brings to your thoughts. Ceaseless prayer includes all manner and types of prayer, needs, requests, petitions, praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, etc. etc. etc.
please forgive any misspelled words and grammatical errors.