Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

How to Have Confidence in Prayer, Part 3 (Praying Through the Bible #427)

THERE IS MORE SAID IN THE PODCAST AUDIO THAN IN THE NOTES BELOW

Confidence


Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

How to Have Confidence in Prayer, Part 3 (Praying Through the Bible #427)

TEXT: 1 John 3

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

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John MacArthur said, “To pray according to God’s will is to pray in accord with what he would want, not what we would desire or insist that he do for us. Answered prayer also depends on obedience to God’s commandments and avoidance of sin. Since genuine believers know God’s word and his will and practice those things that are pleasing to him, they never insist on their own will, but supremely seek God’s desires.”

David Guzik said, “Our assurance is two-fold. First, God already knows everything about you and He loves you, He cares for you, He desires you; second, God knows all things, and knows who we truly are in Jesus Christ. If we are born again, then the real self is the one created in the image of Jesus Christ.

But what if we have been walking in love, yet our heart still condemns us before God? John assures us that God is greater than our heart, and so reminds us that we cannot base our relationship with Him purely on how we feel in His presence. Condemnation can well up inside us that has nothing to do with our standing before God. It may be the work of the enemy of our souls (who, according to Revelation 12:10 accuses the brethren), or the work of an overactive conscience. At those times, we trust in what God’s Word says about our standing, not how we feel about it. Charles Spurgeon said, “Sometimes our heart condemns us, but, in doing so, it gives a wrong verdict, and then we have the satisfaction of being able to take the case into a higher court, for ‘God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.’”

If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. When we are in fellowship with God, and our heart does not condemn us, we know that we can have confidence toward God and our standing with Him. If someone is in true fellowship with God – not deceiving oneself, as mentioned in 1 John 1:6 – then the assurance that comes to his heart while fellowshipping with God is a precious thing. It is what Paul spoke about in Romans 8:16 – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

How precious is the confidence we can have in Jesus Christ! There is such a thing as a false confidence, a confidence in self or in illusions; but there is also a glorious confidence we can have in Jesus. The word rendered confidence stood in ancient Greece for the most valued right of a citizen of a free state, the right to ‘speak his mind’… unhampered by fear or shame.”
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In our last two messages in this series, we began looking at what John has to say about how Christians can have confidence in prayer to God. Here are three things we can learn from this passage so that we can have confidence in prayer.

First, we can have confidence in prayer to God if our hearts do not condemn us. 1 John 3:19-21 says, “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” Here, John tells us that having a clear conscience is a reason to have assurance and confidence before God. If we are walking right with God, we can have confidence before Him. We must live so that we have a clear conscience by resisting temptation to sin and faithfully doing the work that God has called us to do. We will not feel confident about approaching God with our requests if we feel guilt in our hearts. Adam Clarke said, “If we be conscious that our love is feigned, we shall feel inwardly condemned in professing to have what we have not. If we be conscious to ourselves of our own sincerity, that we practice not deceit, and use no mask, then have we confidence toward God – we can appeal to him for our sincerity, and we can come with boldness to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” John also notes that sometimes we may feel condemned while still being in right standing with God. This may be because of the devil planting doubt in our hearts or it may be our own fault for failing to trust in God. In these circumstances, we need to remember that God is greater than our heart and knows all things, so we cannot base our relationship with God just on how we feel. We need to trust in what the Bible says about our standing, not our emotions. However, when our heart does not condemn us and we know that we have been doing God’s will in our lives, not deceiving ourselves, than we have assurance before God. We can approach the throne of God in prayer boldly with our requests.

Second, we can have confidence in prayer to God if we keep His commandments. 1 John 3:22-23 says, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” In these verses, John emphasizes the importance of obedience in order to have confidence in prayer. The conditions for answered prayer are to obey God’s commandments and do the things that are pleasing in God’s sight. When we pray according to God’s will, having kept the commands of God and doing those thing that He approves of, we can have a strong confidence that God will hear us as true worshippers of Him and let us receive what we have asked of Him. Please note that rote action is not true obedience and is not pleasing to God. The Israelites had this problem in the Old Testament. They thought that because they faithfully performed the sacrifices and rituals God had told them to do, they would be blessed. But God told them in Isaiah that their incense was actually repulsive to Him because their hearts were idolatrous and chasing after false gods. Even so, just doing Christian actions outwardly is not pleasing to God when our hearts are sinning inside of us. David Guzik said, “Keeping God’s commandments is important to answered prayer. The key to prayer is being in such close fellowship with God that we ask for the things that are on His heart; we take up His agenda with our requests and intercession. The spirit of true prayer is Thy will be done, not My will be done – we turn to prayer to call into action what God desires; even knowing that some of the things God desires will directly and personally benefit us. The person who is in fellowship with God will want to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. We should have hearts that just want to please the Lord in everything that we do. It is sobering to look at our lives and see how much we do to please ourselves and how much we do to please the Lord. We shouldn’t think that the two are opposites; God is glorified when we enjoy His goodness and His good things. Yet, the godly life will have special focus on just pleasing God, even if it doesn’t particularly please us at the moment.” John actually gives us what commandment to follow in verse 23. He paraphrases the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39 and John 6:29 by saying, “We should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” Of course, there are many other specific commandments, but they all proceed from these. We must first trust in the name of Jesus, first in terms of accepting Him as Our Saviour, and next in terms of relying on Him through our Christian life. We must secondly love each other as Christ loved us. When we keep the commandments that Jesus has laid down, we can have confidence that we will receive what we asked because our hearts are aligned with God’s heart.

Third, we can have confidence in prayer to God if the Holy Spirit dwells in us. 1 John 3:24 says, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” John bounces off of his point about how we can have confidence in prayer to God by keeping His commandments, by saying that those who keep His commandments are abiding in Jesus and Jesus is abiding in them. We know that we are abiding in Jesus because the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us and giving us assurance. Those who do not keep the commandments of God do not have the confidence that they are abiding in Jesus, and they do not the assurance brought about by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Warren Wiersbe said, ”Abiding in Christ is a key experience for a believer who wants to have confidence toward God and enjoy answers to prayer. Jesus, in His message to the disciples in the Upper Room illustrated “abiding.” He compared His followers to the branches of a vine. So long as the branch draws its strength from the vine, it produces fruit. But if it separates itself from the vine, it withers and dies. Jesus was not talking about salvation; He was talking about fruit-bearing. The instant a sinner trusts Christ, he enters into union with Christ; but maintaining communion is a moment-by-moment responsibility. Abiding depends on our obeying His Word and keeping clean. The Holy Spirit is mentioned by name in 1 John for the first time in 3:24. John introduced us to the Holy One with emphasis on the Spirit’s anointing and teaching ministry. But the Holy One is also the abiding Spirit. When a believer obeys God and loves the brethren, the indwelling Holy Spirit gives him peace and confidence. The Holy Spirit abides with him forever, but when the Spirit is grieved, He withdraws His blessings.” Jesus dwelling in us and us abiding in Him is essential to us having boldness as we go before God in prayer. Accepting salvation through Christ results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all Christian believers, but obedience to the commandments of God results in the abiding presence and constant communion and fellowship with the Holy Spirit inside of you. So we see that John’s third assurance of confidence in prayer through the Holy Spirit is really connected to the second assurance of confidence in prayer through obedience to God’s commandments. We must make sure that we do not grieve the Holy Spirit so that we can have confidence in our relationship with God and have confidence in prayer.

Fanny Crosby wrote:

‘Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly bend,
And we gather to Jesus, our Savior and Friend;
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary! O how sweet to be there!

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when the Savior draws near,
With a tender compassion His children to hear;
When He tells us we may cast at His feet every care,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when the tempted and tried
To the Savior Who loves them their sorrow confide;
With a sympathizing heart He removes every care;
What a balm for the weary! O how sweet to be there!

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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.