And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him. I John 5: 14-15
We can ask boldly when we know that what we’re asking is within God’s will.
Of course, not everything I want is going to be granted, and there are plenty of things on my list He’s going to either refuse or delay for His own reasons.
Right now, for instance, there are things on my heart that I’m beseeching Him to grant, and I mean the downright “bang down Heaven’s door” kind of beseeching. I’m certain that what I’m praying for is what’s right, but my certainty about that doesn’t make it so. God hears my petitions, but not my advice, and I’m called to pray, not to presume.
That said, I do need to be bolder about some things, especially things having to do with my own growth and holiness. Every so often, I really feel the Holy Spirit nudging me with a message going something like this: “Didn’t I start the good work in you? Aren’t I the One who’s brought you this far? Do you really think I’m indifferent about your ability to run the race, especially since I’m the One who put you in it in the first place?”
So sure, some prayers should be qualified with the phrase, “Lord, if it be Your will.” Other prayers can be made with the declaration, “Lord, I know this is Your will, so fulfill Your own purposes by answering this prayer!” And here are three such prayers that qualify for holy boldness before the throne:
1. “Today, please give me a hatred of sin; mine, especially.”
I’ve had to admit, over the years, that my acknowledgement of something being sinful doesn’t by any means nullify my affection for that something. I can know it’s wrong and still crave it, and no matter how much I hate craving it, my hatred of the craving doesn’t make it vanish. I’m left, then, somewhat like despondent Paul, moaning, ‘Who will deliver me from the body of this death? I hate what I love; I love what I should hate!’
That’s when I can throw myself on His merciful ability to instill in me feelings I could never generate within myself. He can, and does, cause me to hate the sin He despises. Not as much as He does, sadly, but more than I ever could on my own. That’s answered prayer, and it’s miraculous.
2. “Please let me know when I’ve grieved Your Holy Spirit.”
Paul commanded us not to grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) a command sometimes hard; sometimes seemingly impossible. After all, being God, the Holy Spirit must be grieved at any sin, making no distinction between the big ones and the so-called minor ones. So how can I help but grieve Him? Every time I have a fleeting rude thought or make a snide remark, I’m toast. And that makes it all the easier for me to get accustomed to sin, comfortable and at peace with it as well. I need, then, a reminder – a quickening leash that pulls me up short when I’ve grieved Him. And, oh, how willingly He answers that request! Try it today,
3. “Make me hungry to know You today.”
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Well, sure, and if I only loved Him more, I’d be more diligent about that. But my rebel heart isn’t always so keen on loving anyone, even Him, and my flesh gets settled in a compromised state pretty darned quick. But He can override all that by doing what the Shulamite asked her Beloved to do: “Draw me, and we will run after Thee.” (Song of Solomon 1:4)
He always wants more intimacy with us, and will joyfully woo us, hour by hour while we’re going about our daily business, by reminding us of His nearness, His love, our identity in Him, and the glory that’s still to be revealed. All of that comes, and more, when we simply ask, “Today, make me hungry to know You.”
So try these prayers today. I’m confident they’ll be answered in our lives, and I’m confident they’ll also bear lasting, abundant fruit.