Journal 1 John 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine. Please investigate and determine if my assertions are aligned with the Bible on your own.)


Scripture: (John speaking) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him: That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

(And further)…if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask (my note as reminder: according to his will), we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:13-15

Observation: This is a good opportunity to extract principles and precepts, so that I can apply these throughout my studies.

Application: The easiest and earliest memory of learning principles that are universal application is in arithmetic and mathematics. The commutative and associative properties govern basic rules for understanding how to present and solve equations.

This applies to word problems (like in logic) and, in this case, Biblical principles.

Asking “according to His will” is an absolute modifier that applies to requesting God’s intervention in prayer. The “according to His will” thus becomes a principle that should govern understanding of prayer.

But it is not the only principle to glean from this section. “He hears us” is a statement that I can take to the bank. It is a principle of understanding the effects and outcomes of prayer and of the absolute omniscience of the God we serve.

In contrast, if I do not ask according to his will, does he hear me? Yep, because “…he hears us.” Will he answer my prayer? I think: Yes, No, Maybe—but he is not necessarily inclined to answer any prayer of mine in what I would consider aligning with MY desires…because I am not asking in accordance with his will.

What is a precept? According to Microsoft Dictionary it is, “…a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.” Synonyms are Principle, rule, doctrine, law, ordinance, command, instruction, and others.

According to the Psalmist in Ps 119, I am to love, yearn for, diligently seek God and his word by loving his precepts and principles.

  • I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Ps 119:4
  • This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts. Ps 119:56
  • Through your precepts I get understanding…Ps 119:104a.
  • Consider how I love your precepts! Ps 119:159a

Therefore, as I look through the scriptures in daily devotions, study, journaling assignments, or whatever, if I am to grow in maturity, I should look not only for specific memorization targets or verses that get an “aha” from me, but I should also look for the over-arching precepts, principles, and doctrine that God wants me to have AND understand.

This is what reading in 1 John 5 got me today—not only the specific understanding about prayer but also the principles of God’s hand in action.

Prayer: Lord, speaking of prayer, considering what I was involved with this morning, I feel like my prayers are thudding to the ground. I am setting my jaw writing this post. I am confident that it is right, but at the same time without power.

Help me, O Lord. I need my countenance lifted. My sorrows are more…I feel like a fraud.


Ricky Two Shoes