Why Are We Praying for Needs?
Dear Pastor Lance, I’m new to Christianity. I'm praying and have a lot of questions, but the one that I can’t seem to shake is why we pray for needs. Doesn’t God know? Why in the world would we inform Him of our situation if He is omniscient and knows everything already? I understand praying praise and saying great things about Him, of course He would like that, but what could we possibly add to His knowledge? He knows, so either He’s going to do it or not, right? Help me here please.
This is a brilliant question my friend -- one that most all Christians, including me, have asked.
You are right about the praise, Yes, God wants to know that we know He’s awesome. But asking for needs does sound odd if He knows everything.
Here’s the problem: You are assuming that we are giving Him information. We are not. We are partnering with Him in the answer to that prayer so that we are involved. Honestly, look at the big picture of this whole life thing, does God need any of us? No. Does He rely on anyone for anything? No. So, why are we here? It can’t be because He needs us to get stuff done. It’s because He wants to be with us. If He’s going to do everything Himself, where is the relationship? Where is the “doing stuff together”?
So, He chooses to involve us in the process of life to go on an adventure with us letting us get to know Him. Consider the Garden of Eden. God could have made a perfect scenario that took care of itself but He didn’t. Immediately He put Adam and Eve to work to tend the Garden. Why? Because God didn’t know how to plant flowers? No. Because He wanted them to do something and to do it with Him. They partnered with the tending of the Garden as His representatives as well as His kids and as those He loves. The same thing with us and prayer.
There’s no need to go long on our prayers to give God the info. The only point in going long at all is if it allows “date time” (conversation to get to know each other). When it comes to asking for things, we keep it short because He already knows. But, we still ask because when we verbalize things, we own them more (they become more real), even if it’s in our own head. He asked His disciples questions he already knew the answer to. Why? To get them involved and to get them thinking about it. If he hadn’t pointed out that there were 5,000 people that needed food and had the disciples upset about the problem, then when He broke the bread and fish miraculously and fed all those people, no one would have realized it was a miracle or had their head in the game.
Prayer is less about downloading info to an omniscient being and more about engaging with an omniscient being - and reflecting on what He’s doing with us.