Reading: 1 John 5:13-15
My three year old niece has the ability to twist my entire family around her little finger. Her smile, her laugh and her contagious joy make us all weak at the knees. Kate is the only grandchild on our side of the family and is the center of attention at family gatherings. And, let me tell you, this little one is a girl after her “aunt GG’s” (that would be me) heart. She loves Disney Princesses with an insane amount of love. She wears princess nightgowns, princess shoes and sings princess songs. The other day, she went to my sister and asked if she could have a Sleeping Beauty princess gown. My sister proceeded to tell her that she already had plenty of princess gowns. Kate replied to her with all confidence, “Kara (she never calls her by her first name), My daddy said I could have a Sleeping Beauty gown.”
How many of us are like Kate when we come to God? We try to convince Him to give us what we want and then get upset when we don’t get it. We think our way is best and will have it no other way. The beauty is that God is our Father. He is loving, kind, gracious and He knows what is best for us. Both Kara and Trey knew that Kate didn’t need a Sleeping Beauty princess gown, but in Kate’s mind that is exactly what she needed and she did everything possible to convince them both of the need. God does not need convincing when we come before Him with a heart to please Him. He is ready to listen and to answer. We must be willing to receive His answer and trust Him.
1 John 5:14 reminds us of our confidence as the children of God. We can go before Him anytime and “ask anything according to his will” (emphasis mine). Did you see that? A lot of times we stop at the “ask anything” and get discouraged when the answer seems slow or maybe that it is even a “no.” We can learn several things about the posture of prayer in this text. We see that we can draw near to God at anytime with “cheerful courage” because we have been bought by the blood of Jesus. We can delight in His presence and be a part of His Kingdom work. Lastly, we can draw near to Him for help in time of need.
As a child of God bought by the blood of Christ, we have confidence to go before “Abba” at any time. The word used for “confidence” is parrhesia, and it means “freedom in speaking, openness, boldness, cheerful courage and fearless confidence.” We have this confidence as sons and daughters of God to go before Him, pour our hearts out (every single thing) and trust Him to hear us, answer us and change us to be like Him. How often do we go before the presence of God with cheerful courage and lay our hearts before Him? Sometimes I feel like I need to clean up before I go to God. I feel like I need to hide the “yuck” of my heart as if He won’t see it. Hebrews 4:16 uses the same word for “confidence” when it gives us this promise:
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This Scripture lays it out clearly that we can go before His “throne of grace” with boldness and fearless confidence and pray with openness. Don’t hide from God. He sees everything. Rather, embrace your freedom and go into His presence with openness, honesty and receive His grace. This is the first “yes” of God. He calls us to come near to His throne and He promises grace and mercy as His response. Sometimes we need to simply lay before Him in our complete raw state and receive His grace.
Psalm 37:4 is a very misunderstood verse in Scripture. It says “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse has been used by many to try to twist the arm of God to give them all they desire. The truth is, when we delight ourselves in God by spending time in His presence, He changes our hearts and our minds to be more like His. The desires of our heart align with His desires and He answers us with them. I have been married for almost two years and am amazed at how my desires have changed to be for Greg’s good. I long to please him and bless him. The more I spend time with him the more I want to love him fully. This is the same with God. The more we spend time with Him, the more we become like Him and desire to please Him. Whatever we ask that is “according to his will” He will give us.
The promise that 1 John gives us is that when we ask anything according to the will of God, He hears us and answers us. To hear means to “perceive by the ear what is announced in one’s presence.” God hears us because we go before Him. We are to pray without ceasing (1 Ths. 5:17) and draw near to His throne of grace anytime. Sister, this is beautiful! Today, at this very moment, you can draw near to God with all confidence and “cheerful courage” knowing that He will hear you and He will answer you. Delight in Him. Believe Him with the “yeses” and trust Him with the “no’s.” He is good and He desires your good.
living in cheerful courage,