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1 John 5:13-21
Prayer is a powerful thing, but it is something that we often either do not do enough of, or we have misconceptions about. There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, called “Let us Pray”, where he sings “let us pray, let us pray, everywhere and in every way, every moment of the day is the right time. For the Father above, he is listening in love, and he wants to answer us, so let us pray.” This song has two powerful messages, the first is that we should pray at all times, and the second is the reason why – because God hears us and wants to answer us. These truths are confirmed in the Psalms, the Gospels, and in our text today from 1 John 5. Yet, lest we think that anything and everything we ask for from God will be answered, no matter how crazy it is, we need to remember it is answered only according to his will (v. 14).
In understanding God’s will then, we remember John’s frequent calls to abide in Christ, and also to realize that “all of our prayers are governed, ultimately, by the loving sovereignty of our Father – that if we ask for something wrong, or sinful, or something we don’t need in the moment, or something that is not best for us, then we submit that to his will” (Professor Rob Plummer). Yet, the apostle John does want us to pray with confidence before God, because we have assurance of eternal life (v. 13). The question is, what do we pray for and who do we pray for? In v. 16 John says we should pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ when we see them sin. Specially, we should pray that God will give them life and grant them forgiveness, due to the seriousness and danger of sin, especially in our communities of faith. This prayer God will hear and answer, so we need to always be lifting each other up, confirming our walk with Christ, and experiencing the fullness of the Christian life.
What a high calling it is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in this way. What a blessing it is to grow in our faith and with our family. What an amazing confidence it is to come before our Father in heaven, knowing that he hears us, and will answer us when we ask for forgiveness and life.