Confidence was the first word that jumped out at me in today’s first reading. However, I found myself lacking in confidence as I struggled to come up with an engaging introduction to this blog post. This lack of confidence felt unusual since I majored in journalism in college and have always considered myself to be a strong writer. So I stopped and quickly assessed – where do I feel confident in other areas of my life and my work? How about youth ministry, since that’s my chosen career? It depends on the day and what’s coming up on the schedule. Work-life balance? Getting better and maintaining friendships? I have good intentions but sometimes struggle on the follow-through. Writing? Heck yeah. That’s my jam.
Then it hit me. Can I say I truly have confidence in my spiritual life? Am I certain that the Lord will help me move from times of desolation to consolation, whenever they may happen? Do I know He will bestow grace and blessings? Have I turned to Him in prayer, trusting that my request will be heard and answered in accordance with His will? Some things better than others. Here is why today’s first reading spoke to me in particular and why I hope it speaks to you too.
John, the apostle, tells his readers that we “have this confidence in him,” not that we will have confidence in the future, but this confidence is for right here and right now! John continues his point by explaining just what we should have confidence in – that God will hear us when we ask anything of Him. Therefore, if we know for certain that He hears us, we can also know that He will answer our requests, all according to His will.
This small point should give us so much comfort! How many times have we stopped ourselves on the cusp of prayer, questioning whether or not God will hear and answer us? John has given us the very answer to our oft-asked question, written down in Scripture. However, there is one important thing to remember – even though God always answers our prayers, sometimes the answer isn’t the one we expected. In our wounded humanity, we think we know what is best for ourselves, but our plan and our vision doesn’t always line up with what God has in mind. God will always answer our prayers according to His will for the good of our life lived for Him and the work of building the kingdom of God.
You might be wondering how it is possible that we can have this confidence in turning to God with our needs and petitions. I wish to draw your attention to the first line of the footnote for 1 John 5:14-21 that says, “As children of God we have confidence in prayer because of our intimate relationship with him.” Because our identity is that we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we can always turn to Him with whatever is on our minds and hearts and will “how much more your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.” (Mt 7:11)
Keeping all this in mind, the next time you turn to the Lord in prayer, have confidence that it will be heard and answered, no matter how big or small your request might be.
Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.