This is the confidence that 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.    

1 John 5:14-15 (NIV, 1978)

I was speaking with a good friend a few days ago and his response to my greeting, “How are things with you?,” took us to deeper conversation very quickly. He told me he was physically fine, but there were some life issues going on where his prayers focused on “just needing God to be God.” His very honest appraisal rang true with my own personal theology that is based not only on years of Bible study, but also on having my share of prayers not answered as I would have desired.

The Apostle John wrote to early believers who were encountering their own struggles with walking out their own faith. They believed in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for their salvation from sin, but they needed to believe that He was with them in all life’s circumstances. John provides them with what amounts to a “formula of expectation” when it came to their prayers. First, they were to remember that they could enter his presence with confidence based upon their relation to God as His children. Secondly, anything asked of Him that corresponded to His will for their lives would be heard. And, finally, if their request was heard, it would be granted!

I have always had issues with those who basically claim that God can be backed into a corner because of His supposed promise to give us whatever we ask in His name. When challenged with the argument that not all things are “in His will,” they will sometimes respond that that is demonstrating a lack of faith, thereby presenting an excuse for an “unanswered” prayer.

There have been many times when I have shared my friend’s sentiment with just “needing God to be God.” Circumstances can be so confusing and uncertain that what we really “need” is virtually impossible to voice. We have all had those situations when we finally admit to the inadequacy of our own wisdom. In those moments we reach what I call “miracle ground” because our expectations rely totally on God doing only what God can do!