Praying with confidence

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1Jo 5:13–5)

Salvation through the name

There are two keys words in v13 of our opening text: the word 'name' and the word 'know' (Greek know, understand). God wants us to know and to understand that we have eternal life by believing in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.

In his Gospel, John wrote:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (Joh 20:31)

That verse also speaks about us having eternal life by believing in the name of Jesus. But how can we have eternal life by believing in his name? We have it because his name represents his person. Act 10:43 says:

'…everyone who believes in him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'

The name represents the person who hung and died on the cross for our sins, and through whom we have forgiveness. As Act 4:12 says:

'Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.'

Praying according to God's will

The key word in v14 is 'confidence,' which is belief in the certainty of something. What can we be certain of when we approach God? That if we ask anything according to his will we will receive what we ask for. That is a wonderful truth and should increase our faith.

God's will is revealed in his Word. We need to read his Word until we become certain of his will. Once we are certain of his will we can pray with confidence, knowing that our prayers will be answered. Let's look at two examples.

Praying for God's kingdom to come

Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come…' (Mat 6:9–10)

The kingdom of God is the spiritual kingdom in which those who have been saved and have eternal life dwell. So when we pray for God's kingdom to come, we are praying for sinners to be saved.

Jesus said that no one can enter that kingdom unless they are born of water and the Spirit; they must be born again (Joh 3:5,7). Water, in this context, refers to the cleansing from sin that takes place at the moment of rebirth (Tit 3:4–6; Eze 36:25–7). Repentance is also necessary for salvation (Mar 1:14–5).

Everyone needs to hear the gospel (Mar 16:15) and people are being born into the world every second of every day. That means that the following words of Jesus are relevant in every generation:

Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.' (Mat 9:37–8)

When we ask God to send out workers into his harvest field (the world) to bring his elect into his kingdom, we are praying in his will, and we know that our prayers will be answered.

Praying for healing

One of the main problems Christians have in praying for healing is that they are not sure it is God's will to heal them. But, in respect to healing, he has made his will abundantly clear:

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases [the Hebrew word comes from a word meaning to be ill; to be afflicted with a disease]… (Psa 103:2–3)

Those words of David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reveals that the God who forgives all of our sins also heals all of our diseases, and the word 'all' means all.

We don't doubt that he forgives all of our sins, so why should we doubt that he heals all of our diseases—he says so in the same breath—and tells us not to forget the benefits of knowing him.

God heals us physically as well as spiritually because physical illness is the result of the fall. That is why Jesus went around preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness among the people (Mat 4:23–4).

There was no disease, illness or disability he could not, or would not, heal (Mat 8:2–3; Mar 3:1–5). He even replaced a part of a man's body that had been removed (Luk 22:49–51).

Jesus healed everyone who came to him in faith (Luk 18:35–43); there was no one he turned away (Mat 9:27–31), and he is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). So, when I pray for the healing of my body, I pray with confidence, knowing that I am praying in God's will.


Once we have discovered God's will on any subject, we should pray in that will with confidence knowing that our prayers will be answered, because he has promised to answer them.

Brothers and sisters, who have received forgiveness of sins and eternal life by believing in the name of God's Son, Jesus Christ, let us pray!

Michael Graham
November 2001
Revised September 2023

Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version (Anglicised edition). Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved.

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