These things I have written 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 which we have before 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 which we have asked from Him (1 John 5:13–15).
What is Confidence?
Confidence is an interesting topic isn’t it? Too much confidence in oneself would be considered pride and arrogance. The world defines confidence as the belief in oneself and one’s power or abilities, self-confidence, self-reliance, and assurance. Essentially, the world’s definition of confidence is all about what you think of yourself. This is why confidence in ability seemingly leads to pride.
John writes in his first letter and he refers to the word “confidence” four times. Those references to confidence come in 1 John 2:28, 3:21–33, 4:17, and the final reference here in 5:13–15. John’s form of the word confidence takes on a different definition from what the world tells us. The word confidence here in Greek is parrēsia meaning boldness primarily in freedom of speech. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines this confidence like this: “to speak without ambiguity, plainly.”
Picture it like this: two people are speaking in a coffee shop and one says to the other, “Can I be frank with you for a moment?” or “I’m not going to beat around the bush.” “Beating around the bush” means that in a roundabout way I’ll eventually get to the point. Usually it’s used when trying to be polite or when a subject being discussed will be difficult. The confidence that John is referring to is a boldness that allows believers to speak freely with God.
John speaks directly to believers of Jesus in 1 John 5:13–15 and he states because you a) know that you have eternal life and so you b) now have confidence to ask in prayer anything according to His will and He will hear you. Wow! Notice the parameters in which God will hear the believer’s prayer; it has to be prayer that is aligned with the will of God.
I think about Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and discernment. God was pleased with his prayer because he didn’t request personal things like riches, long life, or that his enemies would be delivered over to him. God answered Solomon’s prayer making him the wisest king in the land and Solomon had everything he needed. We all know where Solomon’s life went from there, but in 1 Kings 3:1–9 we see that prayer aligned with God’s will brought blessings. Sadly, his disobedience and lack of devotion to the Lord was his downfall.
Confidence Through Answered Prayers
Today I am sitting in Edmonton, Alberta at the mid-way point of our “Fan the Flame Tour” thanking God for all He has done on this trip. On January 29, 2016, hundreds of believers who support our ministry spent the morning fasting and praying for this tour. We asked God to move in ways where both we as a ministry and the locations hosting the tour would see the fruit of our labour for the Lord. As well, we wanted to see God moving in the hearts of hundreds of people who have struggled in their relationship with God, and who suffer from being apathetic toward God and His Word. Our prayer has been that God’s people would return to Him with a passion and excitement for Him.
With confidence I can say that these prayers align with God’s desire for His people. Since the fall of creation, God has sent many of His servants to people across the globe calling them to repent and return to Him. This has been our prayer and our message, and friends, I can testify to answered prayer. God has heard our prayer, and I believe that’s because we started this tour on January 29th by stopping everything and coming before the throne of God begging Him to move in the lives of Canadians on this tour. This is the confidence we have as believers, that we can freely speak with boldness before God, begging Him to move.
In Medicine Hat, Alberta, as I finished the workshop, I had the opportunity to speak with a few people who told me the timing of this tour was perfect. One of the ladies went from being apathetic toward the things of God, to understanding what she needs to do to ignite her passion for God. As I reflected on this conversation, I thought back to January 29 as I asked God to use this tour as a wake-up call to believers. And here we were seeing that take place, not just in Medicine Hat, but also across the country on this tour.
The “Fan the Flame Tour” has broken attendance records and it’s so exciting. Last year, the ministry trained 795 people in 12 months. On this tour we will have equipped 543 people to study the Bible for themselves! In addition to studying they’ve also learned how to disciple others by using the 40-Minute Bible Study. And as I’m writing, the tour is not yet done!
It’s so overwhelming to see. God answered our prayer and He has sent us so many people! This tour almost doubled our attendance over our previous tour. God is blessing this ministry because we confidently went before Him knowing that He would hear us.
We have already seen many people from the tour take up the challenge to start a study or work through the book with someone else who is struggling in their faith. We all know someone who needs to have their passion for God ignited. Can you see it? If all 543 people finished the book with one other person, that would result in 1064 people studying with the 40-Minute Bible Studies, but more importantly, 1064 Canadians would become engaged in God’s Word! This has been our prayer, and one that started with Jack and Kay Arthur more than 40 years ago.
What about you? Are you seeing answered prayer? Have you lost confidence to go before God and beg Him to do great things in your life, your church, and your country? Are you willing to take up the challenge and work through Ignite Your Passion for God with someone who desperately needs to meet God and rid themselves of spiritual apathy?
Start with prayer and ask God with confidence to show you someone whom you can disciple through this book. I’ve watched as God has transformed many lives already, and my prayer is that He will continue to be glorified through this wonderful tool that engages people in His Word.
National Director of Precept Ministries Canada
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