The following article is an excerpt from "A Book of Bible Study"
by Joseph F. Harwood.
To download the entire book in PDF format, visit our home page at https://www.abookofbiblestudy.net/
When we bring our requests to God in prayer, how can we know that He hears us, and how can we have the assurance that we will receive what we have asked of Him? In 1 John 5 we find the answer to this question. John wrote: “This is the confidence which we have before 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 which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14-15).
So when we ask for anything that is “according to His will”, we can be assured that God hears us, that our prayers will be answered, and that we will have what we asked of Him. If we ask anything in accordance with God’s commands to us, His directives, His teachings, His admonitions, or any principles of the Christian life set forth in the Scriptures, then we can be sure that we will receive what we have requested of Him. Such prayers illustrate exactly what it means to pray in Jesus’ name (John 1:1, John 16:23-24). God will also answer our prayers according to His will for each of our lives individually, according to the plan, purpose, and place of service that He has ordained for each of us as His people.
There are many prayers of God’s people recorded in the Scriptures. The Psalms in particular contain prayers asking for God’s forgiveness, mercy, and deliverance. The Psalms also contain prayers asking for God's vengeance on our adversaries, and prayers praising Him for His love and mercy, which endure forever. There is great blessing for us as believers in reading the Psalms, because they give us insights into the struggles of the saints who have gone before us, and they tell us of the help and comfort that God provided for them in their time of need.
In 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hannah prayed expressing the sovereignty of God and the help that He provides for His saints. Toward the end of her prayer we read: “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9).
Recorded in Isaiah 38 is Hezekiah’s prayer, where we gain more insight from the lives of the Old Testament saints into the struggles that we as God’s people will face in life and bring to Him in prayer. Beginning in verse 1, we read:
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (Isaiah 38:1-3)
Hezekiah prayed earnestly to the Lord, reminding Him of the devotion that he had shown to Him during his life. His prayer was heard, and God’s answer was to grant him an extra fifteen years of life. But the day inevitably came when he died, as all will. Whether we are granted our request to be freed from our burden or not, the day will come for all of us as believers when will be made whole again, and that for eternity.
God’s answers to the prayers of His people are all in accordance with His word as revealed to us through the Scriptures, and in accordance with His will for each of our lives, as He has planned for each of us individually. We have the assurance from God’s word that all things will be made to work together for our eternal good and glory together with His Son, and all things includes every burden that He has allowed to touch our lives and every burden that He allows to persist in our lives. (Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
God will bring forth life and good through the deaths that our sufferings have wrought in our lives (John 12:24-26). For this present time, we have the assurance that Christ’s grace and strength will be provided to us in a measure sufficient to sustain us in our weakness and need (2 Corinthians 1:5, 12:1-10). Since we have these assurances and comforts given to us through God’s word, we are exhorted to bring all of our requests to Him in prayer, with thanksgiving for all that He has promised and for all that He is accomplishing for us, even through the many troubles of this present life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).