THE WEEK OF TRINITY XII – SATURDAY

LESSON: 1 JOHN 5:9‒15

“Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

As Christians who are priests before God, we should say, “Christ was certainly a priest in the fact that He prayed for me and acquired personal faith and the gift of the Spirit for me. Hence, I also am a priest who should continue to pray to God that He should give faith to this man or that man.” We should have the firm persuasion that we shall receive what we pray for boldly in faith, in accordance with Christ’s promise, “Ask, and you will receive” (John 16:24).

To pray boldly is not always in our power. The Spirit does not always give the ability to pray boldly. Paul prayed to God for Israel that they might be saved (Romans 10:1). Why was his prayer not successful? It was a matter of faith. The Holy Spirit withheld it. Had Paul been able to pray for this with boldness, it would most certainly have happened. Had Paul said, “I pray for the whole of Israel,” and had he believed boldly and said, “Lord, I am certain that You will do it,” it would certainly have happened. It was certainly his heart’s desire and one which he often expressed, but the Holy Spirit never enabled him to believe it with confidence.

It is not within our power to pray with bold confidence; the Holy Spirit must give us this confidence. When we pray for anyone with the confident addition, “It will certainly happen,” it will certainly happen. But normally we Christians must pray with the addition, “Your will be done!” If I must leave it to His will, then I cannot prescribe person, time, or manner to Him, but leave it to His good pleasure. This gives me adequate certainty. This is also what Christ did. He prayed in the garden, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).

SL 11:1522 (15‒16)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, give us a full measure of Your Holy Spirit, enabling us to pray at all times in faith and confidence, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:370-380.