13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
14This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
This is something I try to remember, but often forget. It’s a reminder of how God works in regards to prayer. We read verses saying “God will give you the desires of your heart,” and think that if we are “good enough” that God will give us whatever we ask of Him. That’s not quite the message.
First of all, God giving us the desires of our hearts has nothing to do with us asking for things. Rather, it’s about us aligning our will with God’s, therefore His desires become ours, in other words: The Fruit of The Spirit.
Secondly, we need to remember that He will only grant our requests if He deems it necessary. Therefore, we must open ourselves to God’s will and realize that what we want may not necessarily be what He wants. So, don’t get discouraged when He doesn’t give you what you want.
Think of it this way: someone you know is terminally ill. We ask God to heal them and they aren’t healed. They suffer for a long time and then die. Suddenly, the great deceiver starts planting questions against God in our head. “Why did God let that happen to them? What did I do wrong that God didn’t answer my cry? If God doesn’t do what he says He’s gonna do (answer prayer), then why should I even bother?” We must look back to our prayer.
It is very possible that God had a purpose for that person’s suffering and death. In fact, I know He did. He has a purpose and a use for everything. So then, why the turmoil? We set ourselves up for prayer by expecting our will be done, not His. Instead of praying for our wills, we need to pray for His. How do we do that?
For myself, I try to pray for God to show me His will in certain situations. I pray that He give the persons suffering strength, endurance, comfort, peace, and the like. I pray that He use me to help that person the way He wants, whether through steady prayer, through physical work or deeds, through conversation…I also ask that God give me comfort and peace in His will, however the situation may end. If the situation ends “badly”, I pray that God show me His purpose through it so that I can learn to serve Him better. Ultimately, I pray for faith that He is in control of the situation and His plan is what is best and to align my heart to believe and follow that. To me, this is praying for God’s will in an attempt to align mine with His.
Certainly, I’m not saying that it is pointless to pray for healing, recovery, or relief. Rather, I am explaining John’s point here that in our infancy, pride, stubbornness and frustration we pray for our will instead of His and set ourselves up for failure and disappointment. This breeds fear, hatred, and discontent that is far from the Fruit of the Spirit and God’s will for our hearts.
Who’s will do you pray for?