If God Knows Everything – Why Pray?

Depending on the Bible version you read, there are about 367 references to prayer, praying, and pray. These references refer to people who are praying, why they pray, and often the results of those prayers. In fact, Jesus, and many others tell us to pray.

So back to the title: if God knows everything, why do we need to pray? The simple answer might be, because we were told too. But, that may not be the simple answer for everyone. I know for me, I want to know Jesus more and more. The way I get to know Him is to ask questions, look for answers, and listen. I am unwilling to just take someones cliche’ answers (though sometimes they are right).

Here is my take on the question of prayer: Jesus demonstrated for us that prayer is important. He is fully God and fully man and yet He prayed constantly. He told us to do the same. He wants to hear from us on a personal level. He wants us to share our hearts with Him in everything we do. I’ve heard many times from people, “I don’t pray about the little things or ask God about the little things.” Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

I believe, and the Bible doesn’t say this exactly, that God does know everything and that He wants us to pray for our benefit. First, when we pray, we are acknowledging the power of God. We are demonstrating that we have faith in Him to always have our best interest in mind, even when we don’t see it. When we pray, we know we asked God and that makes us aware when He answers, instead of just taking Him for granted. We can look back and see, we didn’t do that in our power, but God worked it all out for our good. It makes God more of a reality in our hearts and in our minds.

Another benefit of praying, especially when we are praying alone and just spending time with God is it is a time we can listen to His voice without distractions. I have to admit, I struggle with getting the day’s events out of my head and focus on Jesus and what He has to say. But when I finally get there, Jesus is there also. Jesus is a very personal God who loves us just the way we are and wants a relationship of openness, caring, and love. He is not a silent partner, He wants to hear from you and share His thoughts with you.

I am not negating group prayer or corporate prayer. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” This applies to everything. When we pray together, we are showing God that as a group, we believe He can do anything. When He answers our prayers, we can celebrate as a group. The answer blesses us, and we bless God by trusting Him.

I referenced Mark 11:24 above where it says what ever you pray for, believe you have received it, and it will be yours. That’s a big statement and one we often question. We hope for it, but we question why it didn’t go as we thought it would. What it didn’t say is that Jesus will give you whatever you ask for in the way you expected. My kids have asked me for many things that I knew were not good for them. In some cases, I gave it to them just as they asked. In other instances, I either did not give it to them or gave them something that was better for them. God is a lot like that; He only wants to give us what is best for us. We don’t always understand the answer right away, but if we remember the prayer, we will probably see at some point what would have happened had we got our way or why His answer was better than our idea.

Jesus also said not to give up on your prayer. Think about this, the more you pray the same prayer, the more impact it will have when He answers… and He will answer.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

What about when we don’t know what to pray for or are so overwhelmed we can’t formulate the words. Jesus has us covered: Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” It’s a good thing God does know everything, even when we don’t.

Finally, Jesus did not put a limit on what we should pray or pray for. In fact, quite the opposite. In Ephesians 6:18 He tells us to, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” In other words, from a prayer as small as, where did I put those keys, to one as big as please protect my child as they are having heart surgery today… and everything in between. Does He know everything? YES! Does He always want what is best for us? YES! Will He always give us what we ask for? Not necessarily, but He will answer our prayers and give us what is best for us.

We trust that Jesus is Lord and has the power and desire to be our provider, our comfort, our Father, our best friend and so much more. Prayer is us spending quality time with the one who loves us more and better than any human could possibly achieve. Prayer is not just asking for things, it is having a deep and personal conversation with someone who knows us on our deepest level. He knows our hearts and our minds and enjoys even a casual conversation with us. And it’s funny (not really), the more time you spend sharing your life with Jesus, the closer He comes and shares His thoughts with you.

Yes, God knows everything and we pray because He asks us too. But more than that, the more we pray, the more we learn how faithful Jesus is in His love for us.

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