Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.
This past Sunday, our service theme was “God Hears Us.” Pastor Bobby preached from 1 John 5:13-17 about how, if we are sure about Christ, we can be sure that God hears us through prayer. Through Christ, we can be sure that God hears us because God’s heart is open to us.
There are two reasons for us to have confidence in this:
We can have confidence that God hears us because we pray in Jesus’ name. In the ancient world, going before a king in your own name could mean that you were going to be killed. But 1 John points out that we do not have to go speak to God in our own names. If we go before God in the name of Jesus, we can go with confidence because of who Jesus is. Because of Jesus, we are children of God who now carry God’s own name.
We can also have confidence because we pray according to God’s will. As the ancient writer Augustine of Hippo observed, if we surrender our hearts to God’s will, then our desires will be granted because we will desire what God desires. 1 John tells us that our prayers will be heard if we obey God’s commands. If we are not obeying those commands and desiring what God desires, that means that we are not actually praying in the name of Jesus.
Questions for Prayer and Reflection:
- What did the Holy Spirit show you through this Scripture passage and sermon?
- How would you explain the confidence we can have in prayer to God in your own words?
- Has there been a time when you lacked confidence that God could hear your prayers? How might it have made a difference to consciously pray in the name of Jesus?
- What might it look like for our church to align its desires with God’s desires? What might be some things that God desires for us and our community?
- How could you explain to a friend who lacks confidence that God hears them how knowing Jesus can give us confidence that God hears our prayers?
- What does your heart desire most when you quietly reflect on what you really want most? Do you think that the desires you have are aligned with God’s will as it was revealed in Jesus?