Ask For the Good Stuff

Message:  In1 John 5 John was talking about what it means to know God. It’s so much more than believing in God because it requires a response of obedience from us. It’s not enough to say that we know God or believe in God because we know that Satan himself both knows God and believes in him but wanted to elevate himself rather than submit, obey and surrender his soul. We can’t serve our own selfishness and still serve God. This is very important to establish before reading verse 14. Verse 14 says “now this is the confidence that we have before Him. Whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” This is an amazing verse, but I have heard it used out of context more often than I have heard it used in context. While I believe that God is generous and a giver of beautiful gits, I don’t believe this is what this verse is about. I believe this verse is about asking God for a deeper intimacy and knowledge of Him. The footnotes in my bible says this:  The deepest answer to prayer is to know that he hears us. To know this is to have what we asked for. For believers, prayer seeks communication with the Father more than the acquisition of favors or the satisfaction of desires. I have experienced this and it is more powerful and satisfying than receiving anything material. There have been times I have struggled either over understanding situations or understanding something I have read. In my prayer time the times I have asked God to show me what I don’t understand or what I need to correct, or what I simply don’t understand. That kind of prayer brings a different kind of vulnerability with God that is far more intimate than anything else I could possibly ask for. The most beautiful part is when he has revealed the answer I needed and prayed for later that day. It might be in something I read, heard on a podcast or just processed through but there is moment that is more powerful than anything I can describe when I realize I have the answer because GOD HEARD ME. Many of these moments have been through correction and I can’t describe how loving correction feels when you know it came from God. When it comes because he was answering the question I asked of Him. To know God is wonderful, but to be known by God is indescribable. Asking for material things or even favored situations fuels our own desires, but asking God to make himself known to us is beyond anything imaginable. It brings a confidence and an intimacy that favor or material items could never compete with. I have prayed for my share of those things too, but these experiences have impacted me for life. This is why I believe the very next verse is so important and makes more sense in this particular context. Verse 17 tells us that if we see our brother in sin he should ask, and God will give life to him. So not only should we pray to know God intimately, but if we pray for other people to know God like this it is a prayer God not only hears but will answer. This challenges me to not only dig deeper in my desire to know God more intimately, but to also dig deeper in my prayer for others and their intimacy with God. There is no gift more incredible than this!

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