“If you abide in me [Jesus], and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us [. . . . and] we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
We continue exploring promises of Jesus as recorded in the Bible.
Jesus promises to answer prayer. What a powerful pledge!
Several years ago I began a journal to record my somewhat peripatetic prayer journey. In the journal, I praise God and express gratitude for blessings. Another section lists requests for my personal life. This is followed by intercessory petitions for my family, church, friends, local and national leaders, and God’s kingdom work in our world. My prayer journal also contains confessional repentance of sins, with gratitude for God’s forgiveness.
My favorite part of the journal, however, is a list of how the Lord has answered my prayers through the years. Philippians 4:6 urges, “[…] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Matthew 7:8 further states, “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Today’s introductory Bible verses present stipulations to Jesus’ promise to answer prayers, however. We must abide in Christ and his teachings, and we must ask “according to his will.” Jesus instructs us in a model prayer (the “Lord’s Prayer”) in Matthew 6:10, to pray that God’s “will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
As we trust our lives to Jesus and pray with faith in God, we can have assurance that our prayers are heard and that “all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We also can know that “The prayer of a righteous person [person saved by Jesus’ righteousness] is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16, NIV)
O God, we have encountered overwhelming challenges this past year. Trusting in Jesus, we repent of profane thinking, sinful behavior, and prideful presumptions. Prayerfully, we seek the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We are humble supplicants, Jesus. The only hope for our land is in your beneficence. Please, Lord.
Kay Henry is a columnist for the Claremore Progress. All Bible quotations are from “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version” (ESV), unless otherwise noted.