If god already knows what we want, why pray?
That’s a very good question, and one that lots of people have asked. I’m not sure that anyone has a complete answer…but let me point out a couple of things that might help us think about it further:
- God knows how you’ll pray before you start…so prayer isn’t giving God new information.
- God may say “no” to whatever you pray…so prayer isn’t convincing God to do whatever you ask.
- God can do what needs to be done without our input…so prayer isn’t helping God make difficult decisions.
Seems like a good argument that we don’t need to pray, doesn’t it? Of course, that’s only half of the story. When we check what the Bible says about prayer, we see something different: God wants us to pray, and it’s assumed that we actually will. Jesus, who is God become human, prayed to the Father. Despite the fact that God knows everything, we’re given lots of instructions about prayer…so it’s obvious that we’re supposed to pray:
God wants us to ask for help.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
God wants us to pray for others.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44
We don’t have to know everything about prayer.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. – Romans 8:26
I’m sure I could find a half-dozen more verses for each, and there’s more to prayer than just those three things…but it’s a start. Christianity is a living relationship with God, and prayer is our primary method of communicating with Him. No relationship can grow without intimacy, and prayer is our way of opening up to God. I don’t know how much or how often you pray, but let me encourage you to be honest with God. Since He already knows what you’re thinking, you should be comfortable talking with Him about your fears, needs, and doubts – even doubts about Him. He won’t be surprised.