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Praying up

In 1 John 3:21-22, John writes:

 

21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.

 

What does John mean by this?  Is he saying God gives the disciple carte blanche when it comes to them asking and Him answering?  Understand, I’m not asking if people believe this --- I had a lady assure me recently that “if you really believe, it will happen.”  Fair enough, I know what she believes.  But is this what John is telling us in these words?

 

If we keep reading in 1 John, he brings the subject up again in 1 John 5:14-15.  It seems to me that what he says here provides a baseline for the whole discussion of prayer.

 

" 14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him."

 

If you just took v. 15 in isolation, then you have essentially the same thing as 3:21-22 and other passages. But v. 14 provides the qualifier that I understand to be assumed in all of the passages --- "according to His will." Of course, this makes perfect sense (why would God answer a prayer that wasn't according to His will?).  And because it’s so obvious, I think that also explains why it’s not mentioned in other passages about prayer.  It’s not unlike when you hand some money to your teenager and tell them they can buy anything they want.  You assume from the context of your relationship with them that they already know they can’t spend it on anything illegal, immoral, dangerous, etc. 
 
But to the point of John's promise --- how wonderful of a truth it is for the Christian to know that we can pray for anything and God will act. I have often (and I'm sure you have as well), been praying about something and just not sure what to pray for. It's very assuring to throw up my understanding of the situation but then ask that God's will (whatever that might be), prevail. It's like marrying up --- I feel like I've prayed up because I really didn't know what to ask for but by asking for God's will I know I asked for the right thing and I know it will be done. I went into prayer confused and came out of prayer assured. That's a good feeling and one Christians could have more of if they were more conscious of praying for God's will and less busy telling Him what we think should happen.
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