1 John 5:14-15
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Do you remember the popular 50’s Mattel toy called the Magic 8 Ball? I wasn’t around back then but it is such a popular thing that toy companies have been reproducing the fortune-telling fun for years. It looks like an 8-ball but when turned over after asking a yes-or-no question, an answer magically appears on the bottom. We all knew that it was fake; just a shake and see what pops up kind of thing, but when we wanted to know if the little boy at school was as into us as we were into him, we were digging through our toy boxes looking for it.
How many of us expect God to work this way? We are cruising through life and everything is grand until something comes up and we need God’s advice. We start digging around looking for our Magic 8 Ball while we throw our petitions at God, expecting an immediate response. God simply does not work that way.
So, how does God work? How can we know that He hears our prayers? In 1 John 5:14-15, we learn that we can have confidence in God. He hears our prayers and petitions. He listens to His children. The catch is the middle portion of verse 14. “If we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.” You see, God has purpose for everything that happens in this world and as His children, we are a part of that. Everything is either for Kingdom Demonstration or Kingdom Preparation. Yes, God loves us and wants us to be happy, but whatever He is doing in our lives is to fulfill one of these great missions.
This is why it is important to maintain our relationship with God through our spiritual disciplines. When we do so, we align ourselves with the will of God, guided by the Holy Spirit, instead of aimlessly asking God for our wish list items which will only glorify self and bring temporary happiness. So, when God answers a prayer or provides an unexpected blessing, we should give thanks to God and then look for ways to utilize those blessings for furthering God’s kingdom. For example, if you receive a promotion at work, you have a greater opportunity to bless others. It may be financially supporting a mission or ministry or God could be putting you in a position to witness to a new co-worker.
So, is it okay to ask God for blessings? Absolutely, but first remembering that God isn’t going to just hand over things that won’t bring glory (Kingdom Demonstration) or direct souls to Him (Kingdom Preparation). We must remember that God is sovereign and when we don’t think that God is answering our prayers the way we want doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a plan or a purpose for our current situation.