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Prayer Part 3: Praying with Confidence

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Biblical Teaching on Prayer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:05
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Introduction: What are you confident about?

Things that seem impossible: tight rope walking between skyscrapers, acrobatics, climbing a mountain without a rope.
What can we confidently ask in prayer? What is possible in prayer? What can I ask and expect to receive it.
What is our intent?

1. We want to be confident in our prayers.

We want God to answer our prayers.
We want to experience Jesus’ promise, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11:24.
There seems to be an elite level of prayer that we aren’t at and want to be at.
We want to pray effectively, to know what we can and can’t pray for. We want to know we aren’t wasting our time but are actually accomplishing something with our prayers.
It bothers us to think we have to pray according to God’s will. Why does our prayer have to be according to His will?
God’s will is right, true and always best.
If we have to pray “according to His will” does that really mean “whatever you ask” will be done? Is this a bait and switch?
Of course not!
We don’t know God hears us. We don’t know that we have what we asked of Him.
Why not? We don’t know His will.
What’s the obstacle?
We don’t know what “whatever you ask” means. We know what it doesn’t mean.
We don’t have confidence in our prayers.
So we don’t ask.
We aren’t confident in our prayers.
We have confidence in our status before God as His children.
Confidence in prayer is like or should be like the confidence we have in our salvation. 1 John 5:13
We are confident in going into God’s presence. Hebrews 4:16
We are confident when we are walking with God, when our heart doesn’t condemn us. We keep his commandments and please Him. 1 John 3:21-22
Our prayers don’t seem to work. We have all prayed for things we haven’t received.
We don’t know God’s will so we don’t know what to pray!
It isn’t a sin to pray if it isn’t God’s will, we just won’t receive it. Yet do we just throw prayers up against the wall and hope some stick? That isn’t what is being said either.
We don’t ask.
We ask with the wrong motives.
We don’t ask according to His will.
We aren’t being obedient.
We aren’t abiding in Jesus or Him in us.
We don’t have faith when we ask.
What is the plan? How do we pray so that we get what we ask for?
Here is how Jesus teaches us to pray so that we get whatever we ask. Jesus’s statements about prayer have the following prerequisites.

2. Ask how Jesus would ask.

Ask in Jesus name John 14:13-14
With right motives Matthew 7:11; James 4:3
Asking some for God’s good.
Matthew 7:11 NIV
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
James 4:3 NIV
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
According to His will 1 John 5:14-15
1 John 5:14–15 NIV
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
This includes having forgiven others Mark 11:25
Mark 11:25 NIV
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
It happens when we pray while agreeing with others it is good. Matthew 18:19
Matthew 18:19 NIV
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

3. Ask while doing what Jesus would do.

This is abiding in Jesus John 15:7
Obeying his command John 15:14, 1 John 3:22
John 15:14 NIV
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
1 John 3:22 NIV
22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
Stop being anxious while we commit all our burdens to God Philippians 4:6-7
Confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness 1 John 1:9, Psalm 66:18, Proverbs 28:9 ESV
Being filled with the Spirit Galatians 5:16, Ephesians 5:18
Loving each other John 15:10, 17
John 15:10 NIV
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:17 NIV
17 This is my command: Love each other.
1 Peter 3:7 NIV
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
While living in a right relationship with others 1 Peter 3:7
Producing fruit John 15:8-16, Ephesians 2:10
John 15:8–15 NIV
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In faith Mark 11:24, not doubting Matthew 21:21
Matthew 21:21 NIV
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
Having success by trusting Jesus while our work Luke 5:1-11, James 4:13-17
There are some things we get by praying and doing.

4. Ask what Jesus wants us to ask.

This where we have issues, when we pray something Jesus wouldn’t want us to pray.
It won’t be . . .
selfish Matthew 26:39; James 4:3
Like winning the lottery.
mean Genesis 50:17-21
Like punishing someone who was mean to us.
imposing Genesis 2:16-17
Like making someone choose to honor God.
like getting the winning lottery ticket or that God would punish someone because they were mean to us or if we ask God to force someone to do something.
Ask for things we know God wants. His declared will and what God promises. Prayer flows out of our relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit. It isn’t just asking a random stranger for things. Prayer is how we align our will to the Father’s.
The New American Commentary: 1, 2, 3 John (2) Be Confident in Prayer (5:14–17)
Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God, or for bending his will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to his. It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it and align ourselves with it. Every true prayer is a variation of the theme “your will be done.” (Letters of John Stott, 188 ).
Similarly, Dodd comments: “For prayer rightly considered is not a device for employing the resources of omnipotence to fulfill our own desires, but a means by which our desires may be redirected according to the will of God, and made into channels for the forces of His will” (Johannine Epistles, 134).
It will be . . .
good Psalm 84:11, Luke 11:13,
mercy and grace Hebrews 4:16
needs Philippians 4:19
guidance Proverbs 3:5-6
wisdom James 1:5
blessing Psalm 128:1
salvation Romans 10:9-12
sanctification 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Conclusion: “Whatever you ask in prayer” doesn’t mean “whatever you want.”

We have confidence.

God hears us.

God answers our prayer.

Our joy is full.

What’s the result?
We have confidence in our prayer 1 John 5:14
We know God hears us. 1 John 5:14
We see God work through us and the things we pray for happen. God accomplishes His will. 1 John 5:15
Our joy is full! John 15:11
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