To enforce the foregoing exhortation to believers, namely, to be confirmed and constant in the faith, he shews them here what a special advantage believers have above other persons, namely, confidence in all their approaches to God; and a full assurance,
1. In general, that whatever they ask in faith according to his will, they shall obtain.
2. In particular, that our several petitions which we present unto God, shall in his own time, in his own way, and after his own manner, be granted by him, provided our persons and our prayers be qualified according to the gospel for the receiving of his promise.
Hence learn, That through our interest in Christ, and for the sake of his meritorious satisfaction and prevailing intercession, our prayers are certainly heard by God, and we shall assuredly have what God has promised to give, and we are fit to receive. God indeed does not always, nay, not often, come with an answer of prayer at our time, but he never stays a moment beyond his own time.
Learn, 2. That in all the prayers we present and put up to God, a special eye and regard must be had to the will of God, if we expect to be heard and answered. If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
The will of God is the rule, not only of things to be done by us, but also of those things which we crave of God to do for us. The will of God under a threefold revelation is the rule and matter of prayer.
1. The will of God in his commands; whatever God hath required us to do, we may pray for power that we may do.
2. THe will of God in his promises; what God hath said he will give, we may pray that we may receive.
3. The will of God in prophecies; what God hath foretold shall come to pass, we may and ought to pray that it may come to pass.
The prayer of man gives birth to the prophecies of God, yea, and to the promises of God too. I will be enquired of, to do it for them. Eze_36:37 Though God be a sure paymaster, yet he expects that we should put his bond in suit before he pays.
Learn, 3. That a prayer made according to God's will, shall certainly be granted according to our will. If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. When we pray for any thing in obedience to God's will, and with submission to his will, we know that we have the petitions that we ask of him.