Daily Devotional ThoughtsThis Week’s Study: 1 John 5:14-17Monday - We can know God hears our prayers.And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14-15 KJV).In the preceding verses John writes about the confidence Christians have in God’s saving power. In 1 John 5:13 we read: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life. . . .” (1 John 5:13 KJV).We Christians need to believe God loves us enough to actually want to save us! And we need to believe God is faithful to His promises. When we develop that kind of trust we can “know that [we] have eternal life.”In today’s text we are told to take that same trust and confidence and believe that God hears our prayers! What a revolutionary thought! “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).Do you have that kind of trust? Do you believe God loves you? Do you believe God is big enough and faithful enough to do what He says He will do? God says, “You may know you have eternal life. And you can know I hear your prayers.”Tuesday - Conditions for answered prayer.Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).Yesterday we considered the first condition for answered prayer: belief (trust, confidence, faith). God wants us to have faith in Him, to believe in Him, to know Him well enough to trust Him. In Hebrews 11:6 we are told: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”So we see that confidence in God is a primary condition for answered prayer. Our devotional text next mentions asking “anything according to His will.” The second prerequisite to answered prayer outlined in this text is that we ask “according to His will.” Surrender to God is so vital to our Christian journey and to meaningful prayer.Our desires must always be surrendered to God’s sovereign will. When we seek His will, when we grow into the plan He has for our lives, we will want Him to dominate every experience and every petition of our hearts.Our takeaway for today? When we really believe God, when we have genuine confidence in God, and when we ask in full surrender to God’s will, we can know that He hears and “we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Let’s do it!Wednesday - Asking for eternal life for our brother and sister.If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death (1 John 5:16-17).For me this is the premier text telling me to intercede for another. Notice the positive promise and assurance in this command: “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life. . . .” Coming, as we have already learned, from an attitude of trust, confidence, and assurance, we are told to ask and God will give us life for those who commit sins NOT leading to death.What is a sin leading to death? A sin for which one remains unrepentant. Every sin we confess and surrender to God is forgiven (1 John 1:9). So John here is telling us to pray for those living apart from God. Our prayers will be effective. Now, God does not take away free will. Praying for another does not force the prayed-for-one to accept Christ as Savior. The only thing that can possibly keep God from answering your prayer asking for life for another would be the stubborn, rebellious refusal to surrender to God, by the one for whom you pray.Scripture has numerous examples of the importance of “standing in the gap” for someone. For example see Ezekiel 22:30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30). Our challenge today: Are we standing in the gap for our relatives, work colleagues, and others within our circle of influence?Thursday - Standing in the gap, the experience of Abraham -Part 1.And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? (Genesis 18:23-24).In yesterday’s devotional we were admonished to stand in the gap and ask for life for a sinning brother or sister. A prime example of one standing in the gap for another is the time God told Abraham of Sodom and Gomorrah’s impending destruction. Abraham immediately began pleading with God. And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it." And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said, "I will not do it for the sake of forty." (Genesis 18:23-29).What a wonderful example of pleading with God for another! We’ll pick up the story here again in our next devotional. James wrote: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Are we standing in the gap like that for our children? Our parents? Our friends, church members, or our work colleagues? If we are lacking in this area can you think of a better time to begin?Friday/Weekend - Standing in the gap, the experience of Abraham -Part 2.In Thursday’s devotional we read from Genesis 18 where God told Abraham of Sodom and Gomorrah’s impending destruction. Abraham immediately began pleading with God. Let’s pick up the story now in the middle of Abraham’s pleading.Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."And he said, "Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty." Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18:30-33).And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace (Genesis 19:27-28). I leave you with this thought: What if Abraham and persisted a few moments more? Would Sodom and Gomorrah been spared? Abraham’s petition on behalf of his loved ones wasn’t wasted though. We read in Genesis 19:29 “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”Are you standing in the gap for your loved ones and for those God puts in your path from day to day?