This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
–1 John 5:14
God values persistence in praying. Does that mean He will answer every prayer? No. If God always gave us exactly what we wanted, then He would be nothing more than a divine vending machine. It does not work that way. God never promised to answer our every prayer.
There are a lot of reasons for unanswered prayers:
- We are not praying from a pure heart. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18).
- We are not praying in faith. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:5-7).
- We are not living obediently. “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
But one reason God sometimes does not answer our prayers is that we may not be praying according to His will. In 1 John 5:14, the apostle said, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
God’s will is the border around our lives that keeps out things that are bad for us. We are to pray persistently, but when God says no, we can trust His goodness. We can trust that He knows what is best for us. That is what Jesus alluded to in Matthew 7:9-10: “What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?”
If your child were hungry, you would not give him or her a pile of rocks, would you? Now, if we as imperfect human parents know how to take care of our children, don’t you think our perfect heavenly Father knows how to take care of us? That is what Jesus said in verse 11: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
We want God to say yes to our every request, but we need God to say yes to our best requests–those that are according to His will.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Needs” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org