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. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:13-15
A mother of two lay in the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer. The diagnosis was severe and completely unexpected. She was given five years to live. She called the elders of the church and they came to her hospital bed and anointed her with oil (cf. James 5: ). Part of that process included praying for her healing, and part of that prayer was to assure her that her sins were forgiven. It was a peaceful and grace-filled time that afternoon.
There is a connection between having eternal life and confidence in prayer. One of the ways this becomes obvious is on occasions like the woman above. The ability to pray with confidence is predicated on the fact that there is nothing in the way of God’s attention or willingness to answer our prayers.
God’s gift of eternal life is foundational to answered prayer, hopeful living, a gracious demeanor, and a meaningful life. It’s not only about pie in the sky in the sweet by and by. God’s desire for us to live forever should let us know that he has good will, great patience, and infinite love toward us.
John wants us to know this. He wrote to these Early Church believers so that they would know they had eternal life and that they could also have confidence in prayer. The young woman referred to above eventually succumbed to cancer, but she had eternal life, and that was never taken from her. The answer to our prayers for her healing came in the form of a merciful healing when God takes us to himself and we embrace his presence and gracious love for all eternity.