Hosea 2:2-3:5; 1 John 5:13-21; Psalms 123:3-4; Proverbs 27:11
NT: “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. If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him — to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one — that is, in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:14-21 CSB)
The Greek word for confidence used here means free and fearless confidence to speak openly, freely and unreservedly. In Christ, we have the unfettered freedom to ask God anything according to His will. It doesn’t matter how great and impossible-sounding or minuscule and insignificant-sounding it is. If we ask according to His will, He hears us. And if He hears us because it is according to His will, He will answer and grant our request. How do we know what God’s will is? His will is revealed through His word, His will is revealed as we offer our lives to Him and allow Him to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2), and His will is revealed through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). Can we know the will of God? Yes, we can. Can we pray with confidence according to the will of God? Yes, we can. Can we expect our will-of-God-aligned prayers to be answered? Yes, we can.
In that confidence, the children of God are to pray for and intercede on behalf of their brothers and sisters in Christ. When we discover that a brother or sister has committed a sin – if that sin hasn’t caused their death, then we are to pray for them in confidence. We should pray that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sin and lead them to repentance. We are to pray that through repentance, they would experience the mercy, grace and restorative life of God as they are forgiven of their sin. We are not to condemn a brother or sister… or gloat over their failure. We are to pray for their restoration through repentance and forgiveness. It is God’s will to save, deliver, forgive and restore those who repent – so no matter how great the sin – provided it didn’t lead to their death – God is willing and able to answer our prayers for their souls.
Multiple times in his letter, John wrote that the true child of God, who has been redeemed through faith in Christ and reborn with a new nature into the family of God, does not habitually practice sin. A big part of the children of God remaining in holiness and righteousness has to do with the effective prayer of the saints for one another and the desire and ability of God to keep us close to Him in Christ. As we abide in Christ and His word abides in us, we will not sin. As we abide in Christ and pray according to His will for us and others, God hears our prayers and answers them. As we are kept in Christ through God’s grace, the work of the Holy Spirit, and answered prayer, we are kept out of the sway of the world and the evil one does not touch us. I wonder if we truly understood and were confident in the power of effective according-to-the-will-of-God prayer, if we would spend a lot more time in prayer. May we have confidence to pray for God’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that in You, as a born-again child of God, I have confidence to ask God for anything according to His will. It doesn’t matter how big or how small – God hears me when I align my requests with His will. Help me to not take the gift of prayer for granted, but understand how powerful and effective it is as I pray according to the will of My Father. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.