And if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Luke 22:42; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9), but the prayer will not be disregarded, and the thing which is most for our good will be bestowed upon us. The "argument" here is derived from the faithfulness of God; from the assurance which we feel that when he has promised to hear us, there will be, sooner or later, a real answer to the prayer.
We know that we have the petitions ... - That is, evidently, we now that we "shall" have them, or that the prayer will be answered. It cannot mean that we already have the precise thing for which we prayed, or that will be a real answer to the prayer, for
(a) the prayer may relate to something future, as protection on a journey, or a harvest, or restoration to health, or the safe return of a son from a voyage at sea, or the salvation of our souls - all of which are "future," and which cannot be expected to be granted at once; and,
(b) the answer to prayer is sometimes delayed, though ultimately granted. There may be reasons why the answer should be deferred, and the promise is not that it shall be immediate. The "delay" may arise from such causes as these:
(1) To try our faith, and see whether the blessing is earnestly desired.
(2) perhaps it could not be at once answered without a miracle.
(3) it might not be consistent with the divine arrangements respecting others to grant it to us at once.
(4) our own condition may not be such that it would be best to answer it at once.
We may need further trial, further chastisement, before the affliction, for example, shall be removed; and the answer to the prayer may be delayed for months or years. Yet, in the meantime, we may have the firmest assurance that the prayer is heard, and that it will be answered in the way and at the period when God shall see it to be best.
we have the petitions that we desired of him—We have, as present possessions, everything whatsoever we desired (asked) from Him. Not one of our past prayers offered in faith, according to His will, is lost. Like Hannah, we can rejoice over them as granted even before the event; and can recognize the event when it comes to pass, as not from chance, but obtained by our past prayers. Compare also Jehoshaphat's believing confidence in the issue of his prayers, so much so that he appointed singers to praise the Lord beforehand.1Jo 3:22. Nor can any be understood to pray according to God’s will as the rule, if it be not to his glory as the end, as the order and connexion of petitions shows in that admirable platform prescribed by our Lord himself. And is it possible to be the sense of any one that hath a sincere heart in prayer, that God would gratify him against himself? Therefore that latitude allowed the apostles, John 14:13,14 15:16 16:23, &c., must be understood to respect the service of the Christian interest, and is to be limited thereby, as some of the expressions show.
whatsoever we ask, we know, or are assured,
that we have the petitions that we desired of him: for as it is the nature of that holy confidence, which believers have in God, to believe whatever they ask according to his will, in general, shall be grappled, so every request in particular; yea, before the mercy desired, or the favour asked for is conferred, they are as sure of having it in God's own time and way, as if they now had it in hand and fact.And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 John 5:15. καὶ ἐὰν οἴδαμεν. By the indicative after ἐάν (see on this, Winer, p. 264; VII. p. 277; Al. Buttmann, p. 191 ff.) this knowledge is emphasized as something undoubtedly belonging to the believer; differently 1 John 5:16 : ἐάν τις ἴδῃ.
ὅτι ἀκούει ἡμῶν, ὅ ἐὰν (ἂν) αἰτώμεθα] Resumption of what was previously stated.
οἴδαμεν, ὅτι κ.τ.λ.] In the certainty that God hears us lies also the certainty: ὅτι ἔχομεν τὰ αἰτήματα ἃ ᾐτήκαμεν ἀπ ̓ (παρ ̓) αὐτοῦ.
ἔχομεν is neither = λαμβάνομεν, nor is the present put for the future (Grotius); the present is rather to be kept in its proper meaning; the believer always has that for which he has asked God (κατὰ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ); he has God, and in Him all things.
τὰ αἰτήματα are the res petitae (Lorinus).
ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ from its position is not to be connected with ἔχομεν, but with ᾐτήκαμεν; comp. Matthew 20:20; Acts 3:2; differently chap. 1 John 3:22 : λαμβάνομεν ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ.1 John 5:15. An amplification of the second limitation. “We have our requests” not always as we pray but as we would pray were we wiser. God gives not what we ask but what we really need. cf. Shak., Ant. and Cleop. i. ii.:—
“We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
By losing of our prayers”.
Prayer is not dictation to God but ἀνάβασις νοῦ πρὸς Θεὸν καὶ αἴτησις τῶν προσηκόντων παρὰ Θεοῦ (Joan. Damasc. De. Fid. Orthod., iii. 24). Clem. Alex.: “Non absolute dixit quod petierimus sed quod oportet petere’.15. if we know that he hear us … we know that we have] The one certitude depends upon the other: if we trust God’s goodness, we are perfectly certain that our trust is not misplaced. Comp. ‘All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). ‘Whatsoever we ask’ belongs to the conditional clause.
that we have] Not merely that we shall have: our prayers are already granted, although no results may be perceptible. ‘Everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth’ (Matthew 7:8).
that we desired of him] Better, that we have asked of Him: it is the perfect tense of the same verb as is used in ‘whatsoever we ask.’ Comp. Matthew 20:20. ‘Of Him’ or ‘from Him’ (ἀπ' αὐτοῦ) can be taken with ‘that we have’.1 John 5:15. Ἐὰν οἴδαμεν) if we know. Ἐὰν sometimes takes an indicative, of past time; and it does so here to give strength.—ἔχομεν, we have) even before the event itself (comp. 1 Samuel 1:17-18); and we know that the event itself is not from chance, but obtained by prayers.Verse 15. - The point is not, that if God hears our prayers he grants them (as if we could ever pray to him without his being aware of it); but that if we know that he hears our prayers (i.e., trust him without reserve), we already have what we have asked in accordance with his will. It may be years before we perceive that our prayers have been answered: perhaps in this world we may never be able to see this; but we know that God has answered them. The peculiar construction, ἐάν with the indicative, is not uncommon in the New Testament as a variant reading. It seems to be genuine in Luke 19:40 and Acts 8:31 with the future indicative, and in 1 Thessalonians 3:8 with the present. Here the reading is undisputed. Of course, οἴδαμεν is virtually present; but even the past tenses of the indicative are sometimes found after ἐάν (see Winer, pages 369, 370; see also Trench, 'On the Authorized Version of the New Testament,' page 61).
The whole phrase is governed by the verb hear. If we know that He heareth our every petition.
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