"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have requests which we have asked from Him" (1 John 5:14,15 NAS).
A very dedicated church member, who came to me for counsel concerning her prayer life, said, "I pray all the time, but I don't seem to get any answers. I have become discouraged and I wonder if God really answers prayer."
I showed her this wonderful promise and asked, "First of all, do you pray according to the will of God?" This was a new thought to her.
"What do you mean?" she inquired. I explained by reminding her what God's Word says. How do our requests relate to the Word of God and to the desires which He places in our hearts? As we read in Psalm 37:4, if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our hearts, and in Phillipians 2:13 Paul states that it is God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. For example, we can always know that we are praying according to the will of God and the Word of God when we pray for the salvation of souls, for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. We can pray for the maturing of believers because God wants all of us to be conformed to the image of Christ. We can also pray for all the needs of our brothers and sisters materially, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually - because God's Word promises that He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
One can know that selfish prayers for "me, myself and only my interests" are not likely to be heard because we are to seek first God's kingdom.
If we want to receive blessings from God for ourselves, we must forget ourselves and help others find their fulfillment. In the process, God will meet our needs. This does not suggest that we should not give attention to our own needs and to the needs of our loved ones, but rather we are not to seek only that which is for our personal best.
No prayer life can be effective without a thorough knowledge and understanding of God's Word, the basis from which we can know the will of God and thus pray with assurance that our prayers will be answered.
Today's Action Point
I will saturate my mind with the Word of God and seek to know and do His will so that when I pray, my prayers will have ready answers.