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1 John 5:14-15
14 And [kai] this [houtos] is [esti] the confidence [parrhesia] that [hos] we have [echo] in [pros] him [autos], that [hoti], if [ean] we ask [aiteo] any thing [tis] according [kata] to his [autos] will [thelema], he heareth [akouo] us [hemon]:
15 And [kai] if [ean] we know [eido] that [hoti] he hear [akouo] us [hemon], whatsoever [hos] [an] we ask [aiteo], we know [eido] that [hoti] we have [echo] the petitions [aitema] that [hos] we desired [aiteo] of [para] him [autos]. KJV-Interlinear
14 And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. NASB
Here we have another tough couple of verses. You would think that if we were to walk into the candy store of God, that we could have anything we desired. But that is not what these verses say.
Our petition to God has to conform with His will and that is where most folks fail in prayer, and where most folks get frustrated in prayer. They think that they can have anything. They think that they are deserving of everything. They think that they are on the top of Gods prayer list and that whatever they want, they will receive. After all believers in our era are members of the Royal Family of God. We are Royal Priests, Royal Ambassadors, joint heirs with Christ. There must be some sort of privilege for believers in this time in history. Right?
But, not so.
Our real blessing and prosperity will come in the next life. This life was not designed to be our final phase of life. God has a plan. History is the unfolding of that plan. The plan began in eternity past, and one of the primary purposes of history is to resolve the angelic conflict. That conflict which Lucifer started.
So God set out a plan and that plan has to run to its conclusion in its proper order.
We are a part of that plan, but we are not the driving force of that plan. God gave each one of us life and an opportunity to advance to spiritual maturity. A state which will bring us to a position of completion at some time in the future. But prior to that time we have to live in this devils world and put up with the problems of this world.
God gives us relief from those problems if we are obedient to His will. That is where we begin our study of prayer and petition. Gods will. We cannot superimpose our will onto Gods plan when we haven't a clue as to what all of the details of that plan are. And again, that is where faith, in part, enters into our life as well.
So God gives us this promise. If we are obedient to God - that is to say, that we are in fellowship, studying daily, learning, applying His commands to our daily life and so forth, then we will have some idea as to what Gods will is. And in principle, Gods will is for us to grow up spiritually. That really is the solution to all of our problems. Or it is the foundation of the solutions. God takes care of all of our needs.
We should not look to God as we would a genie. We should not look to God with hatred when things do not go our way. God knows far more than we do, so we need to learn to give way to His wisdom.
That said, then if we are in fellowship, then we know that all of our prayers which we submit to God, will be heard by Him. That does not mean that they will be approved. We next have to offer prayers to God which conform with human history. For example we should not ask for the Rapture to occur now. A rather selfish request. We should not ask for all of the money in the world. Again selfish. What money would everyone else have if we had it all?
So we have to scale back our desires and submit more practical requests. Like asking that His Word and teaching will never be withheld from us. God will do this of course. That is His will - for you to grow up spiritually, and that requires the availability of doctrine and some means of instruction. Of course God will not make you study, so you do have some responsibility too.
Look at the world around you. You'll see many countries, many cultures, many religions, many attitudes and so forth. Studying history and the Bible, you should know by now that the next big spiritual event in history is the Rapture. But of course we are not there yet.
We know that the world powers will be aligned in a certain array relative to Jerusalem. We know that there will be trouble throughout the world. We know that there will be a substantial population in the world (implied). We know that there will be a gap in the additions of believers in the Christian faith (implied).
How do we know these things? By our study of course. And by our study of past history and our knowledge and understanding of how God does things. God is not arbitrarily mean to people. But God is thorough and methodical in His dealings with mankind and history.
For example, in Noah's day, the world was given 120 days notice before the flood. Believers like Methuselah died just prior to the flood. At some point the numbers of all believers became unchanged - Noah and his family, and the flood began. So also, the Rapture will likely see a gap or a stalling in the increase of the numbers of believers. God has to then do something and the Rapture is that something. Believers are removed and those who go into the Tribulation as unbelievers might never have believed if the Rapture had not occurred.
Personally I think that the Rapture will not occur until the population of the planet becomes so great, that mankind will be totally impotent to deal with the problems that will accompany over population. That could be less than a century away. If the population doubles in number every 30 years or so, then we will have a population of 50 billion in a hundred years. If another hundred years passes, then that number could go to over a trillion people. That would qualify as crowded. You can only imagine the problems in the world, what with a population of disillusioned and frustrated people, with terrorism, jobs, public services, energy, transportation and so forth.
People would naturally drift away from God and turn to anything which offers hope. Even if it is a false hope. Hitler did this.
And this is only one view of history or a possible history. God is still shaping the nations and we have only to set back and see how it will all come to pass, at least in our individual life times. We may never see the entire historical picture.
Then in your prayers, you have to consider Gods plan for your individual life. Too much of a thing can become detrimental to your spiritual life. So God may withhold certain prosperity's from you so that you will look to Him rather than to things. He will always provide for your basic needs. Any of you starving out there? Check the waist line.
What we can be certain of is this. If we are in fellowship and are following a pattern of life consistent with that which God wants us to, then our prayers will be heard. That is certain. If our requests are reasonable (not selfish) and moreover, compatible with Gods will, then we will receive those petitions. That again is certain. We may not know the timing of His provision, but that should not matter.
We already have been given certain abilities and resources to make it through life. Do not sit on the porch and expect to get a job. You do have some responsibilities. Gods will does not include your having a helpless poor me attitude.
Bible study does include your responsibility to think and to act.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.