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The Confidence That God Hears Us

Prayer is one of the greatest works of faith that we can practice.  Truly, there is nothing else like it.  The act of prayer is the only time that we speak into the air or silently think words and thoughts and genuinely expect that there is an unseen Being who not only hears us but also has the power to understand us in any language and to fulfill our requests.  Certainly, prayer shows "the assurance of things hoped for” and "the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1), which makes prayer a act of pure faith.

Because prayer is a act of pure faith, it is important that we pray with the correct faith.  Errors and misconceptions in our faith will lead to errors and misconceptions in prayer.  Of course, there are many in the world who have faith in false gods and practice false religions (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), and therefore they do not pray to the only true and living God, who is Jehovah, the God of the Bible (Jer. 10:10; Acts 17:27-28; Eph. 4:6; 1Thess. 1:9).  Moreover, there are others who believe in Jehovah but do not practice a faith that is in accordance with God’s word (Rom. 10:2, 17; Jude 3).  Again in this case, errant faith leads to errant prayers.

Even for those of us who are Christians, errors in our faith can create obstacles that hinder our practice of prayer.  Certainly, sinful violations of our faith in Christ affect our relationship with God and obstruct our prayers.  The Scripture says, "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18); "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov. 28:9); and "For the eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (Ps. 34:15-16; 1Pet. 3:12).  Likewise, self-indulgent requests are contrary to faith in Christ and prevent our prayers from being answered, for James 4:3 says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  These kinds of practices are not true to faith of Christ’s gospel and make it hypocritical to approach the Father in prayer through the name of Jesus Christ.

The correct faith for effective prayers includes confidence in God’s power to deliver His promises and compliance in prayer with God’s blessed will.  Consider 1John 5:14-15:

"This is the confidence which we have before 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 which we have asked from Him.”

This passage echoes similar messages found throughout the New Testament that guarantee results for persistent prayers offered according to God’s will (Matt. 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 18:1-14; John 14:13-14).  Notice that the confidence we have through our prayers is directly linked to the compliance we have with God’s will.  Without our compliance, we have no confidence.   A good example of this is given in James 1:5-8:

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, 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, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

The doubtful man can have no confidence that he will receive his request because he does not comply with God’s will for faithfulness.  Another example is found in Matthew 6:10-15 where Jesus teaches us to pray for forgiveness while forgiving others.  When we do so, we may have confidence that God will grant forgiveness of our sins because we have complied with His will to forgive those who sin against us.

Therefore, let us practice prayer with great confidence that God hears us as we comply with His will.  Indeed, our confidence should be well established, for countless times we have petitioned God for our daily bread, shelter, clothing, healing, and many other temporal things which we have received in great abundance.  These give evidence that God hears us and answers us so that we may have confidence in His delivery of spiritual things as well, such as forgiveness of sins.  Of course, our confident prayers should always be qualified with this concession: "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) and "Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).  Nevertheless, our confidence in God to provide our requests should not be hindered in the least, for God gives good gifts to His children (Luke 11:11-13).  Therefore, "pray without ceasing” (1Thess. 5:17).

Stacey E. Durham



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