And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. —1 John 5:15
The Bible is full of facts about prayer; it’s the world’s greatest textbook on the subject. Here, near the end of Scripture, are two verses that seem to sum up the subject—1 John 5:14-15. Notice the sustained repetition that drives this passage into our hearts.
Archbishop Trench said, “We must not conceive of prayer as an overcoming of God’s reluctance but as a laying hold of His highest willingness.” It’s great to pray spontaneously throughout the day, before meetings, at stressful times, prior to responding in tense situations. But we need a regular time each morning and/or evening for a daily scheduled appointment with God. There we praise Him, confess our sins to Him, and bring to Him our needs. God often says yes to our requests. Sometimes it’s no or wait. But this is our confidence: He hears…. He hears…. We know…. We have.
When God Says No
- Abraham earnestly prayed that Ishmael would become the son of promise and the heir of his legacy, but God said no. He had something better, a line of descent through the boy Isaac.
- Moses earnestly prayed to cross the river Jordan with the children of Israel, but God said no. He had a younger leader named Joshua and a better promised land for the aged Moses.
- David prayed earnestly for the joy of building a temple to the Lord, but God said no. He had something better—for David to plan the project and for his son Solomon to do the work.
- Jonah prayed earnestly that he would die, but God said no. He had something better—for Jonah to learn the lessons of compassion and write it down in a book that would thrill the ages.
- The healed demonic in Mark 5 prayed that he could travel around as a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, but the Lord said no. He had something better—that he go home to his friends and tell them what great things the Lord had done for him and had shown him mercy.
- The apostle Paul prayed earnestly to be healed from his disease, which he described as a thorn in the flesh. But God said no. He had something better—for Paul to discover the all-sufficiency of His grace.
- Jesus prayed earnestly that the cup of suffering would pass from Him, but God said no. He had something better—that a fountain would be opened for all the world for the forgiveness of sin.
I never prayed sincerely for anything, but it came, at some time… somehow, in some shape.—Adoniram Judson
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