Praying with Confidence
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14 (NAS)
I used to be hesitant to pray and found myself stumbling over my words when talking to God. I especially didn't know how to pray when struggling with uncertainty and doubts.
Desperately wanting to say the right things, I believed if I prayed the right way, God would listen and answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.
It took me a while, but I eventually got up the courage to talk with a friend about my fears and struggles. She shared how she had struggled with the same things. She also explained how, over time, she had discovered that prayer isn't about saying or asking the right things; it's about building a relationship with God by talking to Him.
She also showed me how to take verses from the Bible and turn them into powerful prayers. Using God's Word as a guide gave me a new sense of confidence and direction when I didn't know what to say.
One day I was reading 1 John 5:14, and noticed it says we can pray with certainty when we ask God for what is already part of His will: "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."
Praying Scriptures increased my confidence over time, knowing that I was praying God's will when I prayed God's Word.
Wanting my prayers to be filled with power and my heart to be infused with faith, I now look for Scriptures about God's will and God's ways. One is Hebrews 4:12 where God teaches us His Word is "alive and active." Praying that truth, I ask God to make His Word come alive in a situation and become active in the person's life I am praying for, including my own.
Oftentimes when I pray now, I'll remember verses in the Bible that apply. For instance, when it feels like my plans are spinning out of control, Jeremiah 29:11 will come to mind. On those days, I'll pray:
Lord, You know the plans You have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future and a hope. You say that if I come to You and pray, You will listen and will lead me. So, today I surrender my plans for Your plans. Please guide my decisions and thoughts to match Yours so I can experience hope and not harm. Even though things aren't going so great today, I trust the plans You have for me."
God isn't looking for the perfect combination of words, and there's no formula to get it right. Now that the pressure to say the right things is gone, praying has become one of my favorite things to do—whether alone or with a friend.
Sometimes I just sit still and let God whisper His promises into my thoughts and then I ask for their fulfillment in my prayers.
Lord, I'm so glad I don't have to say that right thing to get Your attention. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me and leads me—in my daily activities and even in my prayers. Please show me verses You want me to pray so I can see Your Word come alive in my circumstances and become active in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Use God's Word as a guide to pray when you don't know what to say.
Pick a verse today to begin praying.
Matthew 6:9-13, "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.'" (ESV)