THE TRUE GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYER
1 John 5:14-15
When we trust the Lord Jesus as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes to abide in us. He becomes our witness within. The Lord lives in each believer and provides assurance that we are His through this divine witness.
When dealing with people about what we refer to as the “assurance of their salvation,” many of us take them immediately to 1 John 5:13 and say to them, “You can know for sure.” Is this not what the Bible says? Of course it is. It says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Yes, we can know, but we are taking the case completely out of context. Notice the expression, “these things.” What are “these things?” We read this verse and try to use it as if it says, “This verse is written.” But it does not say, “This verse is written.” It says, “These things have I written…” It summarizes the entire book.
You may have a profession of faith. You may know the Lord as your Saviour. But you are not going to live in the joyful assurance of the present possession you have in Christ Jesus unless these things, these birthmarks, are found in your life.
People around the world pray to many gods, but the Bible says that the gods to whom they pray cannot hear, and they certainly cannot answer. The true God hears and answers prayer.
In 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” What a promise! This confidence grows out of the absolute assurance that we have eternal life. Prayer is the language of eternal life. We have been born of the Spirit of God. We have been quickened from the dead spiritually; we have been made alive in the Lord Jesus. Out of the eternal life we have absolute confidence that our God is the true and living God who hears and answers prayers.
It is vital that we pray in His will. The Bible says if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. This means that His will must become our will. In this battle of wills, we are to yield to God; we are to want what God wants. There is a personal struggle here; it is a struggle with God. We win by yielding to Him.
This is the same thing the Lord Jesus taught His disciples in what we call the “model prayer.” He prayed and taught them to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The truth of the matter is that we often want our will to be done. So the struggle is between us and God. It is battle of our wills. Whose will shall prevail?
The place to truly begin in prayer is with a searching of God’s heart and a knowledge of God’s Word. There must be an understanding of spiritual things for me to understand what God’s will is. What does God want? I must pray that His will be done. When I pray in His will, I can have confidence that my prayer will be heard and answered.
Much of our prayer life is only a struggle to get through. It is a struggle so that we might be refined and purified in our motives. It is a struggle that we might exalt God and see Him for who He is—high, holy, exalted, and lifted up. We know that God’s will is always best; God’s will is always perfect. He allows secondary things into our lives so that, as He has our attention, we are to look beyond the secondary things and see the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul said in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The will of God is good; the will of God is acceptable and perfect. We are frightened because of a lack of faith to submit to God’s will, but when we finally pray, “Lord, Thy will be done,” the Bible says that God will hear us and answer our prayers. There is a struggle there. To have real victory in our prayer life, we must pray through that struggle.
1 John 5:15 says, “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” One thing builds on the other. Once we pray in His will, then we can know that He hears us. Once we know that He hears us, then we can know also that we are going to have the petitions that we desire of Him.
God’s timetable most often is not our timetable. When we think God is late, it is because we are early, and our hearts are not prepared to receive what He has for us. There are things I thought I would attempt to do 20 years ago, but I am just doing them now. I thought I was ready for them years ago, but not until now is God making these things clear.
If you are going to know God’s will, you must be surrendered to His will and desire His will and know that His will is best. We must be familiar with God’s Word, because God teaches about His will in His Word. When we pray in His will, we can be confident that the true God, our God, hears and answers prayer. The real struggle is not to try to get God to hear; it is to try to get our hearts in tune with God so that we might desire His will.
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”