(I was going to post this on Curly’s Corner, but I think it might be better posted here. — Curly)
A question was posed to me recently that I think deserves a thoughtful answer because it is one that I get often from Christians that are either very new to the faith, or have recently begun to seriously think through and ponder just how God expects us to walk out our faith rather than just regurgitate platitudes and traditions. Here’s the question:
“If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, knowing ‘the end from the beginning’ then why should we even bother to pray? He has it all planned out already anyway!”
There are a number of reasons why we should pray, and I’ll start out with the one reason which should be the most compelling, but is for most who claim to be Christian, the least compelling.
We MUST pray simply because God commands, instructs, encourages and expects us to. A disciple of Christ by definition does his or her best to obey and emulate Christ, and the thread of prayer runs through not only the entirety of the Bible, but Christ modeled for and expected his followers to pray. Here are a very few of the passages that show the theme of prayer throughout Scripture:
1 Chronicles 16:8-11, Psalm 145:18-19, Proverbs 15:8, Matthew 6:5-13, Luke 18:1-8, Phil. 4:6, Colossians 4:2, I Thess. 5:16-19.
Another reason we need to pray is that God is a Being of relationship, and as creatures made in His image, we are also. Since, at its’ essence, prayer is conversation with God, it is the only way we can have any kind of meaningful relationship with our Father. What kind of relationship would you have with your children if they studied your writings, tried to do what you instruct in those writings – but never talked with you?
There are many more reasons to pray, but I’ll conclude with what is the most difficult for people who seriously pose the question that started this article. It is difficult because it is one of those Christian paradoxes that show that God is infinitely more than we can possibly fully understand:
While it is true that God does ‘know the end from the beginning’ and that His will cannot be thwarted, it is also clearly true both from Scripture and the experience of countless numbers of His children through the ages that prayer does change things. Here are a few Scripture passages, followed by a (very) short list of books that show this truth:
Genesis 20:17-18, Exodus 15:22-25, Exodus 22:22-23, Judges 16:28-30, 1 Kings 17:17-22, 2 Kings 20:1-6, 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, Psalm 18:3, Jeremiah 29:10-14, Matthew 7:7-11, Acts 9:40, James 1:5, James 5:17-18
Here’s the book list, with links: