When I was preparing this content, I was really busy with a lot of relatively important things:
- I was in the middle of teaching my students in our Youth Center,
- I was trying to decide in my head how to lead my middle school boys group,
- And I was mentally preparing for a difficult counseling session that was about to happen right after my small group.
Needless to say, I had a lot of important work to be completed, and I really needed to focus. But, enter my daughter…who didn’t care about any of that. When she walked in the room, she saw her daddy right in front of her and walked up to me with a huge smile and arms stretched out wide, as if to say, “Pick me up and hold me, daddy!”
The interesting thing to me was what at the front her mind in the middle of this encounter: all she wanted in that moment was to enjoy time with me as her dad. She didn’t care about the amount of stuff I doing and preparing to do. She didn’t care about how important it was. All she cared about was spending time with me. And of course I stopped what I was doing and let her take the microphone and interrupt everything. But for her, this was everything. Time stopped in that moment for her when I put down plans to be with her. And because of this, she now has even more confidence in her relationship with me.
Even though I am obviously not a perfect father, I am her daddy. And our relationship to our Heavenly Father is just like this. We can have the same kind of time-stopping confidence to approach God about anything at anytime. This is what prayer is all about.
Powerful prayer is about confidence in your relationship with your Father. I think this is what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil‘” (Matthew 6:9-13).
I think he was hinting at the confidence in prayer that we can have when we remember that God is our loving dad in heaven. And when you start praying like you believe this, you begin to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). It’s the kind of confidence that John mentions when he said, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him…” (1 John 3:21-22a). The term “confidence” (parrēsian) used here means “boldness,” “a freedom of speech,” and “a frankness such as that a child has in approaching his father.” We can have absolute freedom and childlike boldness when approaching God whenever we pray!
So how do we get this kind of confidence that John talks about and that Jesus possessed? Check out how the previous verse finishes: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22). We develop confidence toward God when we follow the commandments from God.
What is God asking of you today? Are you dragging your feet to obey? Are you slow to submit?
Consider the freedom you will experience with God when you align your life with his commands! They are not burdensome; they are freeing; they are healing. I believe there is more deliverance and freedom for you experience on the other side of your submission to God.
I think it would be fitting to end with James’ admonition about confidence in drawing near to God: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:2-8).
We develop confidence toward God when we follow the commandments from God. Consider the freedom you will experience with God when you align your life with his commands!
Last year a student of mine sent me a Snapchat message saying how she would love it if I could write a devotional book because she was feeling like she needed to get back on track with God. That conversation inspired a new devotional.
My hope and prayer for you, if you read through my new book Walking With God, is that you can begin to build habits into your faith that will put you on a path to walk with God. No one can walk with God in a hurry, but if you commit to this journey, there are more blessings in your future than you could possibly know.
You will find chapters on…
- Gospel motivation.
- Purpose in life.
- What it means to be part of God’s family.
- How to function with other believers.
- The glory of God displayed in us.
- Hearing from God.
- Communicating with God.
- Spiritual gifts and calling.
- Simple faith.
Join me on the journey of discovering purpose, calling, and more. You can pick up your copy of Walking With God in paperback or Kindle ebook.