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Confidence In Prayer


1 John 5:13-21

I think we have all prayed for something or for some situation…and what we prayed for didn’t come about…it seemed as though our prayer went unheard and did no good…and as a result our faith is shaken and we lose confidence in prayer.

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

And John, here in this verse, says that the “things he has written to them about Christ and who He is”, he wrote those things so that they may “know”…and that word “know” is the Greek word “oida” which speaks of a “settled knowledge”…in other words…there is no doubt…no uncertainty…they can “know”, they can be confident that they have eternal life.

Now, what John is going to do is he is going let us know how our awareness of our present relationship with God contributes to “confidence in prayer.”

But, just because God does not answer your prayer the way you think He should does not mean that your fellowship with God is broken.

But we “know we have eternal life”…therefore look at vs. 14:

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

And then after you ask…ask God to grant what you ask for…according to His will rather than yours.

Listen, we can pray for “anything”…but what often happens is we are motivated by selfishness; and when we don’t get our way we get upset; sometimes we turn away from God.

Remember when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane? He asked God to “let this cup pass from Me.”

We can ask for anything…but then grant God the sovereign right to edit your requests.

You know, one of the things that we often pray for is rain, “Send us rain.” So we pray for rain.

But the point is, “according to His will” does not limit the “anything.”

And look at the very last phrase of verse 14: He hears us.

Now verse 15: And if (this is not an “iffy” issue. There is no doubt here…this is a “when”) When we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

Now, let’s go to verse 16. In verse 16 John gives us an example of something that we might ask for.

16 If (when) anyone sees (you can see it…the characteristics are visible) his brother (this is key-this is a brother or sister in Christ) committing a sin not leading to death (God has not cut him off ) he (the one praying) shall ask and God will for (dative-“to”) him (the one who is praying) give life (not eternal life) to those who commit sin not leading to death. (God answers your prayer. The granting of life here has nothing to do with the sinning brother changing. It is given because the concerned brother asks for it.)

In this verse who is it that is “committing a sin not leading to death?” A brother.

So, his brother sees him committing sin or living in a way that could cause him to lose fellowship with God, and he asks God to “grant the sinning brother life, not eternal life, but an extension of his life” and God grants that request, because his concerned brother asks for it.

Let me see if I can put this in simpler terms to help you understand what John is saying.

Now, let’s read this verse again with those names:

If anyone (Pete) see his brother (Sam) committing a sin not leading to death, he (Pete) shall ask and God will for(to) him (Pete) give life to those (Sam) who commit sin not leading unto death.

Here is the deal…Pete is noble…and Pete sees Sam sinning…and Sam is in trouble…he is slipping away. 1 John 3:8-10.

“God, I have been watching Sam and Sam has been going places he shouldn’t and I am concerned. I do not want my brother to be lost. Please do not cut him off. I am aware that his sin is hostility toward you. I am aware that you cannot and will not tolerate the practice of sin. But please don’t cut him off. Let me work with him. Please extend his life. Please don’t cut him down but keep him alive. Let me work with him.”

 Now, when Pete gets through praying what do you think he is going to do?

This tells us something about the awesome power of prayer.

This is not a verse whose main point is a discussion of “sin leading unto death.”

 Now, look at the end of vs. 16: There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

Any sin can be unto death. What is important is the direction of the man’s walk when he sins.

I encourage each of you to study this for yourself; but what we do know for sure from this passage is there is power in prayer; and prayer may keep a struggling brother from being cut off.

Now, vs. 17:  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

 Vs. 18: We know that no one who is born of God sins;

 Vs. 18: …but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.

 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

All through this letter John is trying to encourage those in Christ to remain faithful to Christ.

Today, that is still his primary concern. He is, all through this letter pleading with each of us to remain faithful to Christ.

If you have drifted away, come home.