“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
Have your parents ever told you, “You have selective hearing”? That means you hear only what you want to hear. For example, your mom asks you to stop playing with your Lego set and go clean your room. Then, thirty minutes later, she finds you still playing with your Legos. You tell her, “Oh . . . sorry, Mom. I didn’t hear you.” But a few minutes later you just happen to overhear her talking on the phone to your best friend’s mom about plans for a sleepover, and you instantly go to her and start asking for details.
Parents, too, can have selective hearing. Some dads may seem more interested in the sports page than the teenage son who his telling him of his day’s activities, until the son lists wrecking his mom’s car among the day’s events.
Though we consider it a weakness for a child or parent to have “selective hearing,” when God chooses to have selective hearing with us, it’s a good thing. God tells us what He will hear and what He won’t hear. Because God has told us exactly how He wants us to pray, the Bible says we can have more confidence that He will hear us. He wants us to pray “according to His will.”
The word will refers to what God desires or to anything that pleases Him. First John 5:14 is telling us that if we ask for anything that pleases God, He will hear us. And the next verse goes on to assure us that He will answer our requests: “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
You might ask, So how do I know what pleases God? Well, that’s what His Word is all about! If you know God through His Word, if you know of specific things that please Him—for example, obedience to parents (Ephesians 6:1); kindness to others (Ephesians 4:32); diligence in your work (Ecclesiastes 9:10)—then you already know how to pray “according to His will.” All you have to do is apply what you know about what pleases God to your specific circumstances, and pray from that perspective. Then God promises He will hear and answer your prayer!
God promises to hear us when we pray according to His will.
» Am I praying for what I know would please God as I pray about my circumstances?