God knows everything and so why should we pray? Do we need to pray if he already knows all? -SC
This is probably one of the most important questions to be answered that I’ve come across. This was asked by a friend using the Ideas? page and it’s one that plagued me for years.
Some of this has been addressed in my previous post on prayer, so I would ask that you read that one first before diving into this one, since I’ll be building on what I said there. The part I’m going to focus a little more in this post is the “why” part in the question above. Why should we pray?
To start, you have to remember that God is love, and love involves relationship. An important part of any healthy relationship is communication. Talking to God – sharing with him your hopes and desires and worries – builds on this relationship, makes it stronger and more open. So for one thing, we should pray in order to strengthen our communication with God and view him more as a friend, rather than a stagnant being who just sits on high waiting for us to “hit the standard.” Instead, he is an active and dynamic God who strives to be with us and in our lives.
And we should pray because he wants us to pray. This might seem like a strange legalistic approach, but it’s extremely important – God WANTS us to go to him and ask him into our daily lives. Our God is a God who came to earth to serve, to help us in our struggles and rejoice with us in our happiness. There is literally no other “God” who is like this. He always wants to act on our behalf, but in many cases he chooses not to. Instead he waits for us to WANT him in our lives. In this way, the relationship isn’t forced – it’s reciprocal, going both ways.
But, since he knows how something is going to turn out, and it’ll happen either way, what’s the point? That is the heart of the question above. And the answer is: the way something will turn out has NOT been determined.
For the most part, the future is not set in stone or fixed. It is largely malleable, changeable, and movable. The paths an event might take can be shifted by God to go another way. A great Biblical example (one of MANY) about a future event that was set to happen, but was moved into a different direction by God – resulting from prayer – is Hezekiah (click here to read!).
The future is a vast realm of possibilities, any one of which could happen based on decisions and prayers that happen today. God desires certain possibilities to happen over others, just as much as we do, but more often than not he has chosen to work with us to make them happen, rather than do them all himself. He can also act independently from us, he just doesn’t always do it.
Whether or not God knows which exact path an event was going to take doesn’t change the fact that he can still move it in a different direction; and many times he wants to. But he’ll often wait for you to invite him into your life. It is what makes him so powerful – that instead of acting unilaterally, he chooses to share the responsibility of man’s history with us.
As Creator, he chooses to create the future in partnership, as an act of love.
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