By Stan Brown
I John 5:14 And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John the musician brings back to prominence his previous themes of confidence, boldness, abiding and prayer as the theme of being assured that we have eternal life settles into the background. It never disappears because the assurance of eternal life undergirds everything that concerns our relationship. Without the new birth there is no relationship but once we have that relationship there is much more to say. John wants us to build that relationship and what better way is there to build it than through conversation. We listen to Him as we read His word and hear the Holy Spirit speak as He nudges us into obedience. We talk to Him as we pray and the Holy Spirit takes our utterances that we do not always completely understand and translates them to the Father, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom 8:26).
As the theme of confident boldness rises back to the surface, we are reminded that he has before spoken of confidence at His coming as we abide in Him and He in us (1John 2:28). We are reminded that we may have confidence in the day of judgment as love is perfected in us (1John 4:17). We are reminded again of boldness in prayer as John repeats the bonding together of confidence and prayer that he had written concerning previously, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight (1John 3:21-22). I repeat what I wrote when examining that passage.
We have not entered God’s candy shop where all our desires are immediately met. We have entered the presence of God where we may converse with Him one on one or maybe two or three on one. Matt. 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” We have reached the place where our desires are in tune with who He is. We have reached the place where we trust in His timing. Perhaps we even begin to understand that He exists outside of time as he intervenes in time. David expresses it this way. Psa. 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. John writes whatever we ask we receive from Him. This is not an easy place to abide else John would not have spent so much time getting here.
This matter of prayer is always interesting because we don’t always receive the answer that we want or at least think we want or perhaps in the time we want. John places a contingency on it here as he writes if we ask anything according to His will. Previously, he had said (1John 3:22) because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. So, what does all this mean when we come to God in prayer? The contingencies have to do with loving and abiding. Sometimes I know what His will is when I come to Him because He has declared it in His word so I can come confidently before Him in the matter. His timing does not always agree with my timing but that is what faith is all about (His timing is always perfect). Sometimes I am not sure what His will is but I still come confidently before Him because I trust Him and the Holy Spirit who brings my groanings to Him. I used to come to God with the answers. I would even explain to Him how He could get it done. Now I come to God with the problems and leave the answers in His hands. I must also remember that it is necessary to leave the timing in His hands.
As I abide in Him, I may enter His presence confidently in prayer knowing that He cares and will bring about the answer that supplies my need and brings glory to God. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:11)