Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jesus wants to Hear You Pray: We Have Freedom of Speech with God (1 John 5:13-15)

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for
(1 John 5:13-15, NLT).

The Apostle John begins by mentioning that this letter is written especially for people who are already believers: “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God” (although anybody else is welcome to read it as well, I’m sure). Why? So that we know for sure that we “have eternal life.” John is concerned that we must have confident and toughness we need as we are confronted by false teachers and other pressures. Some false beliefs in John’s day as well as today, were probably attractive and promised all kinds of things. So, in moment of weakness, some people would give in to the pressure and leave their faith in Jesus. Friends, in tough times, we need to be confidence in the “Son of God” that we will receive “eternal life”! No ifs, ands, or buts. Our futures is in God’s faithful hand.

There are other sources of confidence besides knowing that we have eternal life: We can live with the confidence that God cares for us so much that we can speak boldly with God through prayer. “We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” We can share with God what is on our minds without being afraid of how He will respond. We have a freedom of speech with God. We can share our frustrations and anger as well as our praise, love, and concerns with God. God can take whatever we need to share. We don’t have to force our way into God’s presence of make an appointment months in advance as if He were the CEO of a large company or government. God is always available. There is no answering service, no busy signal, and no forwarding e-mail address. God is ready to talk with us, 24-7 a day.

God wants what is best for us. Pray for “anything.” But we are taught to pray for “anything that pleases him” or more accurately – pray “according to His will” (NIV). This is balanced prayer. In other words, we should share our concerns with God and ask that we will want what God wants for us. This can help us get beyond presenting God with a grocery list of “our requests” for which we expect certain answers. As we tell God about our concerns, we can say that we may not be sure what the best answer is – but God knows the best for us.

Remember: Prayer involves both talking and listening. Maybe you are wondering how we can listen to God. I never have had heard an audible “voice” from God. I know that some people claim to hear God on a daily basis. But that hasn’t been true for me (Am I or you less ‘spiritual’ than others if we don’t? Maybe not so). I find that Lord Jesus most often speaks to me through my own common sense and conscious, through circumstances and other people, and especially – the written Word of God, the Bible. However God speaks to you – I hope mainly from God’s Word – you can be sure and confident that He wants to hear you and wants the very best for you as well. Amen.

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