Dear Church Family,

Christians who are faithfully living according to God’s Word should pray with confidence the Lord will answer their requests. However, that doesn’t mean every time one of our prayers isn’t answered it is in direct correlation to a particular sin. If that is the case, what finally determines whether He hears us or not?

The Apostle John answers this in 1 John 5:13-15 explaining, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward 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 the requests that we have asked of him.” Ultimately God’s hearing of our requests is rooted in whether or not those requests are in keeping with His will.

Now, pause and think about all the things you have prayed for in the course of your Christian life and think about the ones that weren’t heard. If we’re honest, our initial feelings in coming to grips with our prayer life’s dependence on the will of God may be discouragement. Here’s what I mean: we pray for what we think is good and important, which means if those prayers aren’t answered we may feel like God’s will isn’t for what is good and important to us. But though our flesh may take us down this line of thinking, we must never linger there. Why? Because those who do are in grave danger of putting themselves in the position of God and then becoming bitter about the reality that they are not.

There is a reason we pray, “Your will be done” and not, “My will be done.” There is also a reason why we should pray for God’s will to be done with great joy. As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, we will see ourselves and our Savior more clearly and fully. This is a cause for great humility and comfort. We are not perfect—He is. We are not omniscient—He is. We are not omnipotent—He is.

His will is for our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). He is the Giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). When we combine these truths, find peace in knowing that in this life as we continue to battle against our sin, our will will not be done, but His will will always be done. So then we look to Him as the One who knows best and is working all things together for our good—even when we ask for something different.