So... seriously- What is the point of prayer if we believe that God already knows what is going to happen in the future, and has ordained all of the days on earth?
This question used to drive me crazy. I would want to pray to God, but my brain would convince me that there was no point since He was just going to let His will play out anyway. I mean, think about it... If God knows what we are going to ask, why ask? If He already knows what He is going to do, why pray? Why does He sometimes heal when we pray and sometimes not?
Essentially, why are we commanded to pray?
Aren't these all super fair questions? I wrestled with this for a few months, and the answer was actually quite simple.
What is the point of talking to your spouse if you are already married and know you will be for the rest of your lives?...I think most of us would say “because you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone you don’t talk to!” and I would absolutely agree.
The same thing applies to our relationship with God. We cannot have a healthy relationship with Him if we are not talking with Him. To break it down a bit more, I want to share some of the key areas where prayer benefits our lives, even when we know God already has everything planned out.
Praying Is Intimacy With God
We have the unique gift of believing in a God who cares about us as individuals and desires to live in community with us. He is always reaching out to connect with us, directing our lives in the way it should go, and speaking to our hearts when they are heavy. However, without prayer we are often completely oblivious to these tender callings of God.
The world is filled with noise and is always screaming lies at you, hoping you believe them. God is a gentle whisper. How are we to make sure that we are hearing God and feasting on His truth, rather buying the deception of the world? It's through prayer.
We walk around disconnected to His spirit and then wonder why we feel so distant from Him. We wonder why we went to that party, or kissed that boy, or tried that drink. We wonder why we went to the well that quenches our thirst temporarily, then leaves us most thirsty than before. It's because we weren't aware that the Holy Spirit was inside of us, trying to lead us where to go. One time, I heard the Holy Spirit described as our internal GPS... God's Protective System. Yet, if we keep ignoring the GPS and going our own way, there will come a point where it will just stop talking and leading us.
It is through prayer that we are able to tune into His voice, and see Him at work in our lives. Prayer is all about our relationship with Him, and growing deeper in connection to Him. We all know that if a married couple never talks, that often leads to miscommunication, hurt, and anger. In the same way, when we do not take the time to intentionally interact with God, we are more likely to find ourselves in conflict with Him.
In order to say that you are in love with God, and truly mean it... You have to want to pray, not simply because He will fulfill your desires, but because you just miss Him and want to fellowship with Him. You want to be able to be sensitive to His leading.
Prayer grounds us and helps us to feel the leading of the Holy Spirit and what He may be asking us to do. God might be wanting you to send a word of encouragement to someone, to read a specific passage in scripture, to go on a mission trip, to tell someone about the Bible, but because you aren’t in prayer, you are unable to recognize these nudges in your spirit. Praying is the only way that we can be in touch with the Holy Spirit and His leading in our lives. So, next time you are feeling stuck, stop trying to figure it all out on your own, and pray. That will allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide.
Praying Changes Us
When we are in the presence of God, His Spirit transforms us. Our will that we are hoping for, begins to align with His will that He has already planned out. For example, there was this time in college that this boy totally broke my heart, so I stayed up all night and prayed that God would change His mind and fall back in love with me. I prayed on my face, I shouted and pleaded- yet, it never happened. That boy never came back to me. A few months later, God brought my husband into my life and I couldn't be more blessed that we are together- but praying and pressing into God helped me to trust what He was doing during the desert season. I came to peace with the fact that God doesn't take what he's not going to replace. But it was so hard to do that. If I hadn't been diligent in prayer, I would have never known God so deeply, which means I wouldn't have trusted Him so much.
I played the song "In The Valley" by Sovereign Grace throughout my season of hurting, and He transformed who I was during those few months. Take a listen to the song by clicking here. I love these lines in this song: "So let me learn that my losses are my gain, to be broken is to heal, that the valley's where your power is revealed".
Pressing into God through prayer does not mean He will change your circumstances. Most times, He actually won't. But He does promise to change you. He must touch us to change us. In prayer, we do not talk about Him, but to Him. We do not study Him; we are with Him. And then our time in prayer makes us more like Jesus.
Prayer Is Obedience To God
In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He was pretty straight forward... “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Ask, seek, knock: each is an imperative, not a suggestion. Each is God’s demand of us. If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to spend hours upon hours in prayer, then we should follow His example. God is a good Father, and although following the commands of a parent may seem annoying or pointless, we all know that it is for our best interest in the end, so we have to simply trust Him that He is good at being God. Even if we don't feel like it in the moment, or we don't understand, we must continue to pray if we want to call ourselves Christians.
Prayer Binds Us To God
Praying to the Creator of the universe is an incredible privilege. Because some of the modern church has grown up in Sunday school from a young age, so many people have become used to the fact that we have this free access to God. We no longer have to wait for Moses to come down off of the mountain because we can go up there ourselves! Praying creates this unbreakable bond between us and our Father.
When we are unsure about praying because we are afraid that He already knows everything- So what?! He does already know everything, but that shouldn't stop us from wanting to tell Him how are days are, what we are hoping for, and what we are learning. He knows everything we need before we ask, yet we are specifically told to still pray and ask. This is not to impress God or inform God, but to invite God into that situation to be a part of our character maturing and to deepen our relationship with Him. Think of praying to God as a toddler coming and talking to their mom and dad after a long day. That's what it's like when we go to God. He just wants to hear from us!
Because prayer binds us to God, it helps us prepare for the spiritual attacks of the enemy. Can physical strength help us overcome obstacles and challenges in the spiritual realm? No! In Ephesians, it says: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." But in prayer, we become strong against these schemes. As we are more and more connected to God through prayer, the more prepared we become for the spiritual battles.
Take some time, slow down, and communicate with God. Incorporating prayer into your every day will completely transform your faith life and your personal relationship with God. Don’t hesitate! Reach out because He is open, ready, and longing to hear your voice.