“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14,15 (ESV)
A young girl was disobedient to her mother and as punishment, the parents decided to have her eat by herself in the corner of the dining room. The family did their best to ignore the complaints of the young girl until they heard her pray: “I thank you Lord for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies”.
This humorous story illustrates how we can easily use prayer to get our own way…not necessarily God’s will.
John reminds us that the key to effective prayer is praying according to God’s will.
Because of His word to us through Scripture, we can be certain of some things that are God’s will. For instance, we learn from 2 Peter 3:9 that God does not want anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. This means that as we pray for our family, friends and colleagues to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are praying according to God’s will. It may be months or years before we see the answers to those prayers, but we can be sure that God hears them.
We can also be sure from Romans 5:3-5 that suffering produces spiritual fruit. Paul teaches that the end results of suffering are endurance, character and hope. As we encounter patients in the midst of suffering, we can pray that God will produce the spiritual fruit He has promised through that suffering.
Finally, we know from James 5:13-15 that if anyone is sick and asks for forgiveness of sins, that forgiveness will be granted. On rare occasions, we may actually witness a divine healing from that severe illness. The important thing for us to remember as Christian healthcare professionals is that we can pray with confidence that God’s will shall be accomplished in our patient’s lives.
As you encounter patients today, don’t forget to include prayer in your efforts to minister to their needs.
Prayer: Lord, help me to pray today in such a way that You will hear and answer those prayers!