Let’s take a look at 1 John 3:22 for a moment, because I believe there are some things here that we can discover if we are careful and take our time. For context, I will begin at the previous verse.

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. (1 John 3:21, 22 NASB)

On the surface, if we don’t read closely enough, we can misconstrue what John is saying here. He is not saying that we earn our answers to prayer from God. Well then, what is he saying here?

First of all, lets see what is meant by keeping his commandments. The statement itself implies that we are in a saved condition. Over in chapter 2 John has said,

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. (1 John 2:3)”

If we know Him, we are going know what kinds of thongs to ask Him that would be in accordance with His will.

Another thing to notice is that John separates keeping His commandments and doing what is pleasing in His sight. That is because what John means by keeping His commandments is stated in the following verse. We are to love one another. This fits in with what Jesus Christ said are the two greatest commandments — love God and love neighbor. In addition, it meshes nicely with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 about everything we doing being useless if it is not done in love.

So rather than a cold legalism and getting our prayers heard by keeping our spiritual checklist filled out, he is talking about doing things that are pleasing in His sight that spring from our love for God and each other.our love for each other will keep us from selfish prayers. Our love for God will cause us to pray “not my will but yours be done”. When we ask for things that are within the will of God, we receive them. When we submit our prayers to the Father’s will, we are confessing that He knows best and will give us what is for our good, even though we may not know what to ask for.

So prayer that is a conversation between those in relationship with Christ, who are walking in love, and asking for God’s will to be done, will always be answered. As our knowledge of God grows, we will not only love Him more, but be even more eager to please Him in all we say and do. When we ask from that foundation, we will have all that God wills for us to have and will rejoice that He knows what is best for us.