13 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. 14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.
There are two kinds of boldness in prayer. Boldness to pray for what is the desire on our heart expecting that God can and will answer. The second is equally as bold. The boldness to continue praying when the answer is “no” or “not yet.”
Praying with others is one of the great honors in my life. Praying for others is right alongside the first. I have written previously that my primary role as a pastor is one of intercessor. Praying for the congregation is job #1 for me. Yes, even more important than preaching and attending potlucks. How I long for a good potluck these days..but I digress.
There have been times, however, when the answer to prayer has not been what any of us had prayed or hoped. In fact, I had one family ask if it really mattered if I prayed with them anymore since none of my prayers seemed to make a difference…ugh, that hurt. That is not to mention the pain I felt for their grief and loss that God didn’t seem to be answering.
If boldness is based only on answered prayers, it will not last long. That is why the writer of 1 John says that assurance of eternal life is the doorway to boldness in prayer. Knowing that we are part of God’s kingdom lays a foundation from which boldness grows. Knowing that we are children of a heavenly parent who will always answer when we call. And respecting that sometimes the answer will not be what we desire or what will be easy. The psalmist reminds us that God walks through the valley of the shadow and not around it. I need constant reminding, and maybe you do too, that answers to prayer can only be judged by the sunlight of eternity not the flashlight of the present.