As the father of twelve, I sometimes know what my children need before they ask. However, what I as an earthly father only sometimes know, our eternal heavenly Father always knows. That fact inevitably leads to the question “If God knows what we need before we even ask, why bother asking at all?”
First, it is crucial to recognize that supplication should not be seen as the sole sum and substance of our prayers. Far from merely being a means of presenting our daily requests to God, prayer is a means of pursuing a dynamic relationship with Him.
Furthermore, God ordains not only the ends but also the means. Thus, to ask, “Why pray if God already knows what we need?” is akin to asking, “Why get dressed in the morning and go to work?” For that matter, if God is going to do what He is going to do anyway, why bother doing anything? God has ordained that both the work we do and the prayers we utter produce results. The fact that God knows the future does not imply that our futures are fatalistically determined any more than our knowledge that the sun will rise causes the sun to rise.
Finally, while our heavenly Father knows what we need before we even ask, our supplications are in and of themselves an acknowledgment of our dependence on Him. And that alone is reason enough to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 nkjv).
Adapted from The Prayer of Jesus
“When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as
the heathen do. For they think that they will
be heard for their many words. Therefore do
not be like them. For your Father knows the
things you have need of before you ask Him.”
Matthew 6:7–8 nkjv
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Prayer of Jesus: Secrets to Real Intimacy with God (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2001).
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming in Fall 2023. When available for pre-order we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***