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 3:22(NASB)
Many self-righteous Christians take this verse out of its Biblical context to mean that God has effectively signed a blank cheque, which allows His children to fill in a simple prayer request to ensure that they get whatever they want - in order to fulfil their fleshly lusts. This is not what the verse is teaching.
Nor is this verse teaching that God is obligated to respond to our own positive confession and fulfil our own fleshly desires, unsanctified petitions, or unscriptural declarations. Such an attitude is unbiblical, and such an interpretation not only contradicts the gospel of grace but is inconsistent with the correct interpretation and context of this passage on prayer. The positive declaration view sees faith as a force that can create one's own reality, or that God can be commanded to heal or to work miracles according to man's will and in response to man's word.
God does indeed reward obedience, but not the sort of ritual obedience of rigid adherence to a series of imposed commands in order to guarantee a reward that God is obligated to grant, as is suggested by many in the Word of Faith movement. The dangerous root of this sort of interpretation is found in positive thinking, positive confession, positive declaration, and the prosperity gospel.
Righteous prayer emanates from an obedience to God's Word and a mental attitude of love for Him, which was initiated by God Himself Who first loved us by giving His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Legalistic obedience to God's law does not guarantee an answer to our declared demand. James reminds us that if we do not ask aright then we will not receive, and even the godly prayer of the righteous man or woman may be used by God to teach some deeper spiritual truth.
In context, this verse give us an assurance that we will receive whatever we ask for, when we humbly request what is in full alignment with the Word of God and pray into the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the honour and glory of His name.
Keeping His commandment to love as He love, living in humble submission to the indwelling Holy Spirit, walking in spirit and truth, and praying in alignment with the Word and Will of God, are some of the biblical prerequisites of answered prayer that John is talking about in this passage. Rightly dividing the Word of truth, aligning our mind with the mind of Christ, and praying into the will of the Father in the name and nature of the Lord Jesus, are all necessary conditions to be pleasing in His sight and thus to receive whatever we ask in His name.
When our heart is lined up with the Word of God and aligned to the will of God, we will indeed receive what we ask, because our petition will be a correct and godly request that is pleasing in His sight. Being aligned to the Word and the will of God, ensures that the believer who is walking in spirit and truth will pray as led by the Holy Spirit - and their prayer will indeed be answered.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of prayer and that through Christ, I have access to the throne of grace. Thank You that You hear and answer the prayers and intercessions that are aligned to Your will and the Word of truth. I pray that the thoughts and the petitions of my heart may remain in accordance with Your perfect purpose and plan. Guide me into all truth so that my life may be pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' name, AMEN.