A dear friend of mine was recently going through a tough time in her relationship with a loved one and I gave her the usual advise we give each other as believers- ‘Pray about it’. Instead of agreeing with me, their answer startled me a little ‘Why should I pray about it if God knows about it’.
Honestly, I had no answer to that. I might have thought ‘Well, because we should’ but I dared not utter it. I couldn’t think of a convincing answer to this simple question. But it was enough food for thought to get me digging in the Bible for answers.
As believers sometimes we say and do things out of habit and forget the true reason why. And that’s what happened to me in this case-saying something out of habit but not knowing or even forgetting why.
So how do we know that God knows everything? The Bible says so. He is omniscient (all knowing).
A few verses that confirm this truth are:
Psalm 139:4 ‘For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether’
1 John 3:20 ‘For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.’
Colossians 1: 17 ’He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.’
Revelation 22:13 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’
Why you should pray even when God knows everything
1. Jesus prayed and taught us to pray
As believers, we have to follow the example Jesus set for us. He is our standard and role model. And though He was perfect and without sin, He still prayed.
a) When he was baptized. Luke 3:21 ‘When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.
b) Prayed alone, a lot. Luke 5: 16 says ‘So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.’
c) Prayed for miracles. John 6:11 says ‘Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish’
d) Prayed all night. Luke 6: 12 ‘Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God’
e) Prayed God’s will to be done. Matthew 26: 39 ‘Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
2. To build a relationship with God
I remember a time I used to joke with my husband about how he could go the entire day without calling me while I was at work. Communication and speaking to me all the time didn’t mean he didn’t love me, but I just liked for us to always be in touch.
It builds a relationship. Happy to announce that my hubby has certainly improved in this area.
In the same way, we pray to build a relationship with God when we pray. When we communicate with Him, it helps us become closer to Him and Him to us.
‘The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,To all who call upon Him in truth.’Psalm 145:18
3. To get revelation and clarity of God’s purpose in our situations
One of my favourite verses is Romans 8: 28 ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose’.
But I must admit there are times when I’ve not known what God is working together in a situation. I’ve had struggles with the fact that I’m an economic migrant and having lived the past 14 years in different countries which are not my own has not been easy.
It would not have been my desire and choice in life. Yet as I’ve prayed about this situation which God already knows about, I’ve gained revelation and clarity.
I know what the way I’ve grown financially, emotionally, spiritually and even career wise would not have happened in the comfort of my own home country.
While I still long to go back to my native country one day, I know I’ll be a better and stronger woman than the one who left as a 21 year old. And that comes with prayer. With seeking God’s face in the situations that trouble us we are able to get clarity and revelation.
4. It changes us and our perspective
When I look at the story of Hannah I see a woman changed by prayer. In 1 Samuel 1 we see Hannah as a second wife to Elkanah with no children of her own. The first wife Peninnah had children and she used to provoke Hannah. Hannah’s reaction- crying, being sad and refusing to eat.
But she decided one day to pray about her situation. She went into the tabernacle and prayed from the heart so much so that Eli the priest saw her and thought she was drunk. Can you imagine how she was praying for him to think that?
It was clearly not a ‘usual’ way of prayer but her situation caused her to do this. She was full of sorrow and only God could understand her. Once she assured Eli that she wasn’t drunk, he blessed her, and told her God would grant her the petition she asked for and told her to go her way.
‘So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad’.1 Samuel 1:18b
No, she didn’t have what she wanted yet (a child) but prayer had already changed her attitude and how she felt about the situation.
Prayer filled her with hope. God was going to take care of the situation now and He did. After a while He did bless her with a son, Samuel and 5 more children after that. We pray because prayer changes us, our thinking and our attitude.
5. Prayer changes situations
Probably the number 1 reason we pray is for God to change situations. And He does. I remember praying for my first job and getting it.
I remember praying for God’s protection a lot of times when I travel and he granted me journey mercies. I’ve prayed for my marriage and God has blessed it.
‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.’James 5: 16b-18
God is waiting to answer our prayers. We pray because situations change when we pray. Doors open, healing and deliverance happens, lives are transformed, and miracles happen when we pray
My Encouragement to you:
I might not have had an answer when my friend asked me why we pray but I assure you, I now do and l hope you have too. When I look back at my life and what God has brought me through I know l’m a product of prayer-prayers l’ve make and prayers others have made for me.
Prayer has changed me, changed situations around me, given me clarity, and made me more like a follower of Jesus, desiring to do God’s will not my will. I’m sure it’s the same for you to, my friend. If you’re struggling to find the time to pray, read this article for some tips.
Max Lucado says ‘Our prayers may be awkward, our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference’
Lord I thank you that you are a God who is all knowing. You know my thoughts, my ways and my words. You know my beginning and my ending. My life is in Your hands. Thank you for the privilege to come to you in prayer. To build a relationship with you, to know your will and purpose, to change situations, to become like Jesus. Help me to know and understand that my prayers to an all-knowing and all-powerful God are heard and they make a difference. I long to draw near to you in prayer always.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen