Why Should We Pray If God Already Knows Our Requests?
Scripture says we're co-workers with God, balancing the work that only God can do and our responsibility to tell the world about Jesus. . God instituted prayer to bear witness that the course of events is not governed like a state but created like a work of art to which every being makes its contribution, and in prayer, a conscious contribution. By praying according to God's will, we become co-workers with Him steering the events of His great redemption plan. This is indeed a wonderful thought!
Our struggle about prayer may come from 2 verses:
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” – Mt. 25:39
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mk. 11:24
Matthew 26:39 says one should submit requests to God and be willing to receive a denial; Mark 11:24 says one should pray with confidence and receive a positive response.
In Mark 11:24, the promise of answered prayer was made in faith to disciples getting ready for mission work, not to the crowd. Eventually, Jesus would eventually ascend into Heaven. As He was leaving them, and so He wanted to encourage them. He told His disciples that they were His and they could ask Him for anything in prayer and it is theirs.
For Christians, Jesus' prayer (Mt. 26:39) in Gethsemane of submitting to God's will is the only model. This is echoed in 1 John 5:14-15:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. - 1 Jn. 5:14-15
God will answer our prays if they are asked according to His will - His sovereign, moral and permissive will. His answers are not automatic. Some like to quote Mark 11:24 to say that if we pray hard enough and really believe, God will answer our prayers no matter what we ask. This is absolutely false. They have not only taken the verse out of contact but also misquoted God, and so leading others astray.
One other thing. Why should we pray if God already knows our requests? It is because prayer gives us dignity, allowing us to reach God's level and become a person to us. Prayer also helps us to unveil ourselves before God with our petitions, and our confessions. No longer shrouded by a veil of sin, we can communicate directly with God, call him Abba, and converse with Him. But one day, we will see Him face to face. There will be no petitions or penitence. Just adoration.
Let us pray.
Thank you for calling us to pray. Thank you also for teaching us how to pray. You have made it possible for us to reach out to you and communicate directly with You. And we know that You hear us because the Bible tells us so. Help us to learn to wait upon You. We know that we can bring our petitions to you and you will receive them and do what is right in Your sight. Help us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.