Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Pray if God is Omniscient?

Do you wonder why Jesus said: "Your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8), while, at the same time, telling us how to pray? Does it seem a bit contradictory to inform God of our needs if He already knows we need them? A misunderstanding of this can result in a passive and ambivalent prayer life.

Prayer should not be viewed simply as telling God of our needs for the purpose of influencing Him to give us things. Prayer is a conversational alignment, meant to line us up with God's will. You know how it is when you and your friend (or wife, husband, son, daughter) haven't talked for awhile and then after a good conversation you gain understanding and feel closer! It's the same way with prayer.

Moreover, prayer is an expression of dependence, aligning us with our Creator/creature relationship. More than once, Paul simply says “I bow my knees” rather than saying “I prayed.” Unless we come face to face with the fact that we are creatures of need, then we can soon develop a spirit of independence and withdraw ourselves from close contact with Him. When we pray, we are being God-reliant. (Come to think of it, self-reliant people probably don’t pray very much.) If you find yourself feeling a little ambivalent in your prayer life, maybe you need a conversational alignment.


  1. Greg,

    The two-way relationship strongly implied in the Greek word "phileo" (most often translated 'love' in the New Testament) is best seen in the exchanges we have with God in prayer.

    Whether our conversations are about His will, or to express His worthiness to be praised and worshipped, or to draw near in companionship, or to intercede for others or for a particular set of circumstances, etc., they all require a relationship.

    'Agape' love does not necessarily require a response. It is to value someone or something or some place with an affection that needs no explanation. But once we need the person or object loved to express themselves as a result of our affections...and we perceive that they becomes 'phileo' love.

    In the relationship that best demonstrates our image and likeness to our Creator, prayer is our response to God's initiative and how it has "affected" us.

    True prayer may be silent; but it is never passive.


  2. What a beautiful expression of prayer. Thanks, Stan.