My wife and two of my sons traveled to Africa to share the gospel in an impoverished area. At one house my wife asked a man if they could pray for him. He said, “Pray for God to give me a job, and, if he does, I will believe in him.” While happy to pray for a job for this man, my wife pointed out that he was in no position to barter with God over his soul. Indeed, God may intend to use his joblessness to bring him to faith. This account illustrates a very common misconception of God and prayer. John is not saying that prayer (or even faith) is a tool we can use to get things from God. Instead, if we remember the flow of the letter, with its discussion of love of God and abiding in him, we can see that John is referring to confidence that, because of Jesus, we can be God’s children. Our heavenly Father wants to bless and care for his children. But because he loves us, he will not give us things that will harm us. Thus we are encouraged to come and ask, trusting that every good thing we ask for he will grant.