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. ~ 1 John 5:14-15 (CSB)
John says we can have complete confidence. We can have complete confidence that if we ask God for anything according to his will, he hears us. Praying to God is about getting an alignment to his will. Our prayers are to align with God’s will. We are not to pray for our will to be done, but rather, for God’s will to be done. God does not give us a blanket promise of giving us whatever we want. Some Christians have made this mistake. You hear it often in what is commonly called the “health and wealth gospel” in phrases like “conceive it, believe it, and receive it”. God didn’t say he would give us whatever we want. He said he would hear our prayers that correspond to this will. Our prayers are to align with God’s will.
The word “hear” in 1 John 5:14 doesn’t just mean that our words are audible to God, but rather it means that God is actively listening. God is fully engaged when you pray according to his will. The fact that God hears us is the greatest blessing of prayer. Knowing that God tunes his ear to our voices and works on our behalf is a wonderful blessing. We do not serve a god who demands demonstrations of our sincerity by crawling up 1,000 steps on our knees. We do not serve a god who grants wishes on a whim. We do not serve a god who is absent or uncaring. We serve Yahweh, the one and only true God. He hears us when we pray according to his will and as a good Father he gives his children what is best for them. (Matthew 7:9-11)
Prayer is having a conversation with God about what he wants and we can have complete confidence that when our will is aligned with God’s will, we will receive. “The wonder of prayer consists not of bringing God’s will down to us, but in lifting our will up to his.” (NIV Application Commentary, p. 214)
Do you remember the passage of Scripture from Matthew 26? Jesus on the night before his crucifixion was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked his disciples to pray with him, but they fell asleep. Jesus had a conversation with his Father about what he was about to suffer. Do you remember what Jesus said? Jesus said in Matthew 26:39, “not as I will, but as you will.” He said this phrase twice during his prayer in the Garden. If Jesus submitted his will to the will of the Father, then we also must learn to submit our will to the will of the Father. Our prayers are to align with God’s will.