Be Bold in Prayer
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him.
~ 1 John 5:14-15
Do you believe that God loves you? I mean, that He really loves you? Can you rely on His love? Of course you can rely on His love; the Bible tells us this again and again. “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.” (1 John 4:16) He loved mankind when He created us and He has loved us ever since, even in our sin and disobedience. If we believe in Christ, we must believe that God loves us so much, He has saved us from sin and death.
And if we have utter confidence in God’s love, we can ask anything of Him according to His will. “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6) So be bold in your prayer! There is no reason to mince words with God. He knows what is in your heart anyway — and this is what prayer is all about. Not making God listen to us, but admitting to Him and to ourselves what is in our hearts. It is not God who changes: it is ourselves.
And if we are bold in prayer, and have learned to subordinate our will to His, He will answer our prayers. We can change the world by prayer, if we have faith and have changed our hearts to conform to His will.
When John Wesley was sailing to America, the wind shifted direction so as to knock them off course. He heard the commotion among the sailors from his cabin and went to investigate. His response when he found out they were being diverted from their intended direction shows a boldness that few of us would dare imitate:
“Almighty and everlasting God, Thou hast sway everywhere, and all things serve the purpose of Thy will, Thou holdest the winds in Thy fists and sittest upon the water floods, and reignest a King for ever. Command these winds and these waves that they obey Thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”
He then calmly rose from his knees, returned to his cabin and resumed reading a book. One of his fellow passengers (who wrote down the prayer, above) was amazed to find that, when he went on deck, the wind had calmed down and the ship returned to its intended course. Wesley never mentioned the incident: he was so convicted in God’s love that he found such an answer to his prayer completely unremarkable.
Maybe God will not, in His infinite wisdom, answer a prayer; He knows best and will do what is best. But fear of rejection is no reason not to pray boldly and with confidence. God hears our prayers and will indeed act in the world in response to them. Pray boldly! We worship in reverence and humility, but we pray with confidence.
Lord, let me always remember your infinite love, and reflect my confidence in my prayers. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer