1st John 5:14-15 reads, “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” (NKJV). The Bible is filled with hundreds of promises and here is a very special promise. We can come to our heavenly Father in prayer with complete confidence that He not only hears us, but that He answers our prayers. But notice the condition set forth in order for us to have this bold confidence; we MUST ASK ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. It is all too true that we sometimes approach the Throne of Grace with a selfish request. James 2:3 speaks to this: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Imagine asking God our Father for a yacht, or an expensive diamond watch, or a shiny new car. Do you believe He gives ear to such a prayer, or that He would actually give us our request? Most believers would agree that this would surely illustrate James 2:3, and yet we may be guilty of the same thing, for if we ask for anything outside of the will of God, we are “asking amiss.” But if we truly do have God’s Mind, He HEARS and He ANSWERS! Solomon gave this same assurance in Proverbs 10:24, “The desire of the righteous WILL BE GRANTED.” Earlier in James he encourages us with these words, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and IT WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM” (James 1:5).

The question naturally arises, “How can we know the will of God?” I would answer that question with another question, “Where is the will of God revealed?” I think I can hear your thoughts right now exclaiming, “In the Word of God!” Of course you are right, for God has revealed His Mind and will to us in His precious Word. As we “sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word” (like Mary of old—Luke 10:39), God conveys His thoughts to our minds and hearts. Scripture calls this “the renewing of our mind.” Listen to what the Apostle Paul said about this in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND.” The verse goes on to say, “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect WILL OF GOD.” This is simple, is it not? As our minds are RENEWED through the Word of God, we come to know the will of God!

Before we close this short meditation, it should be noted that there are two other vital conditions that we must meet before we can have the confidence that God hears and answers our prayers. In John 3:21-22 we read, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” First of all, we must have a HEART FREE FROM SIN, for if our heart condemns us we will lack the assurance that God even hears us. David said in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Unjudged sin in our lives fills our heart with guilt, and guilt results in no assurance in prayer. Secondly, we must KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, for if we aren’t obeying God’s known will in our lives He will surely not honor us by granting us our requests, even if we come to Him with what seems like an unselfish prayer that is according to His will. May we take John’s lesson to heart, for if we do, OUR HEARTS WON’T CONDEMN US and we will be DOING THOSE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT. If this is the case, we will no doubt be feeding on His Word, renewing our minds, and proving His good, acceptable and perfect will. Then, when we go to the Lord in prayer, He will HEAR and ANSWER us! (262.1) (DO)