Effective Prayer

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

If a co-worker or classmate volunteered to do part of a group project you hate, would you say no? If your kid begged to have broccoli for dessert, would you insist on candy? Of course not! When someone wants to do something that fits your plans and desires, you say yes. God is the same way. When we ask for something He already wants for us, He gives it to us.
When anyone prays for faith in Jesus Christ, God saves. Jesus tells us in Matthew’s gospel that God gives good gifts to his children. In the book of James, we read that God generously gives wisdom to anyone who asks. Thus, John encourages us to have confidence when we pray.
Sometimes it seems hard to know what God's will, but the Bible tells us so much. If you are praying for self-control, kindness, or holiness, you know God wants you to be like Him. If you are repenting, you know God forgives. If you need grace to share the gospel with others, God already called you to do it! He will help.
In fact, John tells us that we know we have the things we ask for in God's will. “Your will be done” is the prayer that never fails. But look out! God often answers prayer in ways we do not expect.

Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What is a prayer you have that you know is according to God's will? How have you seen Him give you your request?
2. Is there a request you have that you're not sure whether it is God's will? Do you need to stop asking or change your request?

Dear God, help us approach you In prayer with confidence, remembering that all good gifts come from you. In Jesus’ name, amen.