Some people approach prayer the way they approach a fountain or a wishing well. They throw some thoughts or words up to heaven, but don’t really believe they are going to be heard much less answered. That kind of prayer is ineffective and frustrating.
The Bible describes prayer much differently. God’s Word tells us that as believers in Jesus Christ we can approach God with confidence knowing that he hears, he cares, and he answers our prayers in accordance with his will. Our prayers matter to God.
I understand that it can seem intimidating to talk to the eternal creator of the universe, the Almighty God, the Lord of the Heavenly Host. God is big and powerful and so much greater and wiser than we can even imagine. Yet, he is also near and close and concerned with our every need.
So don’t be intimidated. Don’t feel like you have to use fancy theological terms or certain phrases. Prayer is simply a conversation between you and God. He understands your language. He understands you. Talk to him AND listen. He will speak to you in your mind and heart.
The Bible tells us about praying with confidence.
This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him. If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him — to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.
(1 John 5:14-17)
Here are four truths from that passage about praying with confidence.
1. You can pray with confidence when you pray according to God’s will (v14). So how do pray according to God’s will? Read the Bible to know the will of God for what to think, say and do. Then in your prayers to God, allow the words of Scripture to guide your conversation.
Rather than viewing prayer as a chance for you to make demands of God, what if you approached prayer as getting to know the heart of your Heavenly Father better? When you know him that closely, you will pray with confidence as you pray according to his will.
2. Pray with confidence because he hears you (vv14-15). As his child, you can be confident that he cares what you have to say. You have access to God in prayer because you have placed your faith in Jesus. You are not just tossing wishes up into the cosmos. You have the attention of the eternal God of the universe. Wow.
3. Pray with confidence for other believers (v16). Pray for them to have a close relationship with God and other people. Pray they will live holy lives, glorifying God with their words and actions. Pray they will avoid sin. Pray they will be protected from the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Pray they will serve the Lord and share the gospel. Pray with confidence for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
4. Pray for God to give people life (vv16-17). In this passage we read about those whose sin leads them to death. After they die it is too late to pray for them. (Note: this phrase “the sin unto death” has been explored and discussed by pastors and scholars for centuries, and will be the subject of another post in the future.)
Pray that people will know and experience the abundant life and eternal life that Jesus offers, starting the moment they place their faith in him (John 10:10). Pray that God will save the lost. Pray that God will help your Christian brothers and sisters to know the love, joy and peace – – a truly abundant life – – that they can have in Christ. Pray these things with confidence.
In some situations, you may be the only person believing in what God can do. Pray that God will restore marriages, reconcile children to their parents, provide for financial needs, give clear guidance on decisions, heal the sick, save the lost. We serve a mighty God. Pray with confidence!