If God Knows, Why Bother Praying?
Have you ever wondered why you should bother with prayer? I mean, if it's true that God is all knowing, then He already knows what we want, what we need, and according to scripture, he knows what we'll ask before we even ask it (Matthew 6:8). Yet, He commands us to pray repeatedly throughout the bible.
"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)
If you read my last post, you might be thinking, "Hey, didn't you say that we need to do more than just pray all the time?" Yes! So, keep in mind that if you aren't studying God's word, your prayer life will be severely limited and sadly ineffective. However, I also want to encourage those who are lacking in prayer, specifically those who may think that it doesn't make any difference, since God already knows everything.
Let's consider this analogy: (I'm a huge fan of analogies!) You're sitting in your house watching your 5 year old play outside with the neighbor kid. All of the sudden, you see the neighbor push your child down and run home. Your precious little pumpkin is crying and you see him come running into the house. You're all prepared to embrace him with arms wide open, when instead you hear him run straight up the stairs and slam his bedroom door! As you knock on the door, you may say something like, "Are you alright sweetie? What happened?"
Would you be asking those questions because you really have no idea why he's crying? Of course not, you saw what happened so you have a pretty good idea why he's upset. If pumpkin refuses to come out of his bedroom and talk to you, what can you do? Would it be effective to force him out?
On the other hand, if your child opens the door and climbs in your lap and shares the story of what happened, he's placed himself in a position to receive comfort and love from you. Let's say he incurred a scraped a knee, you could clean it up and put a band-aid on it. More than likely, you may even be able to walk him down to the neighbor kid's house and they could resume playing the rest of the afternoon together with the incident resolved.
Although God knows everything, our every need, fear, thought, and desire, He bids us to come. Just as a good parent doesn't bully a child, God will not force Himself and His comfort on us. By coming, we "open the door" and demonstrate our belief that He is able to help us.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)"
By going to God in prayer, we also demonstrate humility. We are acknowledging our weakness and His strength. Scripture tells us that God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud. (James 4:6) We'll take a closer look at pride and humility in a future blog post. But for now, suffice it to say, that ultimately it's our pride that keeps us from seeking God in prayer.
When you read the scenario with the child, it seems almost silly, doesn't it? Any child with a loving parent, wouldn't hesitate to run directly to their parent for comfort. Children tend to demonstrate complete trust in their parents' love and care for them. They run to mom or dad, knowing and believing that they can make things better, either emotionally or materially. Yet, we are all flawed as human beings, failing to do things perfectly, while our Father in heaven is perfect in every way. This means that He is perfectly able to provide for our every need and comfort us in all our afflictions. (2 Corinthians 1:4a) Jesus said,
"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)
When life pushes us down or we fall due to our own bad choices, let us remember that we have a Father waiting with arms wide open to comfort and counsel us. God desires that we run to Him like children to a parent, demonstrating our faith in His power over anything we may face.
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)