Anyone who has spent much time reading their Bible knows that God wants us to pray. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint…” (Luke 18:1) We read from the book of 1 Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) And from the psalmist we read, “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” (Psalms 55:16-17) Prayer should be as natural to a child of God as breathing.
Yet oftentimes we fail to pray. Why is this? Perhaps part of the reason is because we believe that God has already determined what He is going to do; therefore, it seems useless to pray. Yet Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 5:7-8) Though it might sometimes seem trivial to pray, scripture teaches us that faithful praying is necessary in order to receive God’s blessings.
In today’s passage of scripture we see the importance of praying in God’s will.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
How do we know if our prayers are in the will of God? Consider these two principles:
What does the Bible say about our prayer requests?
John refers to praying with confidence. If the Bible clearly condemns the things we are praying for, then we cannot have confidence that God is listening or that He will answer. However, if the Bible clearly commends what we are praying for, then we can have full confidence that our prayers are in God’s will and, therefore, He is going to answer.
What is the witness of the Holy Spirit?
Inside of every believer is the Holy Spirit who has been sent to guide us into all truth. (see John 16:13) Concerning the importance of praying with the Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote –
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18)
“I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 9:1)
Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit is our prayer partner. According to Romans 8, He joins in with us every time we pray. Therefore, we need to learn to be sensitive to His guidance. If there is biblical evidence that our prayers are in God’s will, and if the Spirit confirms this with His peace, then we may pray with complete confidence that God is listening and that He is going to answer.