Q: #38. If God already knows what we are going to pray for, why do we even need to pray?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Here are my top 10 reasons:
#1. Prayer is a privilege. Because of Jesus' death on the cross, we are able to enter into the very presence of the Father! The greatest gift we have from the Lord is salvation through Jesus. The greatest privilege we have after salvation as Christians is to be able to talk to the Father at any time in prayer.
#2. God commands us to pray (1 Th 5:17)(Eph 6:18)(Lk 18:1)(Mt 5:44)(1 Tim 2:1-2,8) (James 5:16). If God commands it, we need to obey.
#3. God wants us to TOTALLY trust in Him (Prov 3:5)(Isa 50:10)(Ps 37:3,5)(Jer 39:18)(Prov 28:25-26)(Isa 26:4), and submit to Him (James 4:7,10)(1 Pet 5:6)(Rom 10:3)(Ps 66:3)(Ps 81:15). When we humbly come before Him in prayer, with confession, repentance, and with our petitions in ALL things, it shows our total dependence on Him.
#4. Prayer isn't just about what we are praying "FOR," it is also about giving back to God. What a joy it is to be able to offer God our praise and thanksgiving for who He is and all that He has done for us. The Bible tells us we should both praise (Heb 13:15)(Jer 20:13)(Rom 15:11)(Ps 117:1) and thank (Phil 4:6)(Col 4:2)(Lk 9:16)(Jn 11:41)(Ps 18:49) God. David gave us some great examples of this in the Psalms. He praised God by blessing Him (Ps 31:21)(Ps 41:13), magnifying Him (Ps 70:4)(Ps 40:16), glorifying Him (Ps 86:12), exalting Him (Ps 18:46)(Ps 21:13), extolling Him (Ps 30:1)(Ps 68:4), and delighting in Him (Ps 37:4)(Ps 40:8). He was also thankful to God for His deliverance (Ps 18:17,19,43,48,50), faithfulness (Ps 36:5)(Ps 40:10), righteousness (Ps 7:17)(Ps 35:28), lovingkindness (Ps 36:7) (Ps 40:10-11), and for choosing him (Ps 33:12)(Ps 65:4).
#5. Prayer is one of the ways we can become a true worshipper of God as the Bible teaches we should (Mt 4:10)(Lk 4:8)(1 Chr 16:29)(Ps 95:6)(Ps 99:9)(Rev 22:9).
#6. Prayer is a way to know God's will for our lives (1 Jn 5:14-15)(Jer 33:1)(Prov 19:21)(Isa 50:5). This is one of the most important aspects of prayer. Our goal should ALWAYS be to conform our will to God's will, and not His will to ours (Mt 6:10)(Jn 4:34)(Jn 6:38)(Jn 8:29)(Acts 21:14)(James 4:15)(Ps 40:8). Jesus Himself demonstrated this for us in submitting to the Father's will (Mt 26:39-42)(Mk 14:36)(Lk 22:42).
#7. Our sins (as Christians) separate us from a close walk with God (Isa 59:2)(Ps 66:18)(Jn 9:31)(1 Pet 3:12)(Prov 15:29). Prayer is the means by which we need to confess our sins (1 Jn 1:9)(Prov 28:13)(Ps 32:5)(Ps 51:1-3)(2 Chr 7:14) and restore our fellowship.
#8. Prayer is a means by which we can serve God (Lk 2:37).
#9. Prayer is how we build a relationship with God. Think of it like this: How do you build a close relationship with a person? We grow closer to someone when we spend time in their presence. The more time we spend with them, the more we learn about their wants, needs, and desires. We even tend to become more like the person the more time we spend with them. The same is true for the Lord. We can become more like Christ when we spend time in His presence (2 Cor 3:18), which is the ultimate goal of ALL Christians (Rom 8:29)(Phil 3:12-14)(1 Jn 3:2).
However, if we don't spend time with our friend, we tend to drift apart. In addition, you should also ask yourself how you would feel if every time you talked to your friend, all they did was say "give me this and give me that." Can you build a relationship if that is all they say when they talk to you?
#10. Without getting into too deep of a theological discussion here... while God does indeed know what we will pray for before we pray it (Mt 6:8,32), isn't it possible that since He knew we would pray for it, He has already, in His omniscience, made a plan and response to that prayer BECAUSE He knew we would ask for it when we did. God would also know ahead of time if we were going to fail to pray for something. Make sense?
In other words, let's say that you pray for a friend's healing today. God knew from the very beginning you would pray for that friend. So, God might say, because of that prayer, when the time comes, I am going to heal that friend in response to that prayer. And, if the person fails to pray for the sick friend today, God would know of that failure to pray, and therefore, might not heal the friend when the time comes.