“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” ~ 1 John 5:14-15
Here is an incisive quote that demonstrates one of the major points of our text:
“[Our] Prayers don’t change God’s mind, they change our heart” ~ P. Clairmont
That is precisely what “…if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us…” means. Praying/Asking according to God’s-will means we are not asking for anything outside of God’s perfect plan that He has already set out for us from before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).
In other words, when we begin praying according to God’s will, we are the only party new to the information. God already knows His will for us, so only the person praying needs to change his/her mind, not God. When we meet God in prayer the only thing that can possibly change is OUR mind/heart/attitude. Certainly, God’s perfect plan can’t and won’t change.
Notably, even Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane could not change God’s mind, so He submitted Himself to the will of the Father and died on the Cross for our sins (Luke 22:39-46).
Likewise, Paul prayed thrice for his own healing, but he was also unable to change God’s mind. Instead God changed his heart (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
Nevertheless, if we did consider the reverse proposition: that we could “change God’s mind” by prayer, we begin to see a philosophical and theological problem. If we can change God’s mind, then it means:
- We can give God new information that He was hitherto unaware of.
- We can persuade God to deviate from His perfect plan for us
- We have a better plan than God had in mind.
Since, by axiom, the God of The Bible is Omniscient (all-knowing and all-wise) it is ludicrous and inconsistent to consider anyone being able to present Him with new information or with a better plan (point 1 and point 3). And, since God is also loving and merciful, it is equally incomprehensible that He could be dissuaded from doing what is best for us (point 2).
Clearly, then, prayer is an opportunity for the Believer (for Christians born-again by the Blood of The Lamb, Christ Jesus) to come before the throne of God for Him to conform us to His will.
Scripture puts it this way:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16
We pray to obtain mercy: forgiveness for our inability and unwillingness to conform to God’s perfect will.
We pray to obtain grace: the supernatural unction/empowering to conform to God’s perfect will.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
We make our requests known to God, yes. BUT it is His peace that sustains us while we are being conformed to the very image of Christ Jesus, who walked in His perfect will. Note, there is no promise made in that passage that God will grant us those requests. For, as our text points out we must “…ask any thing according to His will…” for God to hear us. Indeed, in the Book of James we are told
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:3
Let us come to God in prayer so that He can change our minds/hearts to match His perfect plan for each one of us.