Why is it so important to pray if God already knows all of the information, and the solution, and he knows it better than we do?
Jesus gives us the answer in the Lord’s Prayer that he taught his disciples. It focuses not so much on the mechanics of prayer or the answers to prayer but the relationship of prayer.
Jesus’ first word when teaching his disciples to pray was “Father” (Luke 11:2).
The relationship in prayer is as important—or more important—than the results of prayer.
Two friends have a relationship that allows one of them to badger the other one for help, even after he says, “Don’t bother me.” That’s like prayer (Luke 11:5-8).
Good fathers always take care of their children, based on a relationship that the man does not have with kids other than his own. That’s like prayer (Luke 11:11-13).
My wife and I might share information with each other that isn’t critical, but it is delivered within a special relationship that bonds us together. She could share about her day with the neighbor’s dog or I could talk about my plans with the birds in our backyard. It’s just delivering information, but it is not the same without the relationship. There is more than information exchanged. There is intimacy. Closeness. Understanding. Love. That’s like prayer.
Additionally, that non-essential information (like replaying to each other what happened during our day), when stated out loud, helps a person emotionally and mentally process it. We hear ourselves when we are talking and can listen to what we are saying and evaluate it. That’s also like prayer.
When we pray, we aren’t telling God anything new, but the activity of prayer helps us listen to ourselves, helps us consider what God is thinking about what we’re saying, and we end up processing our prayer request with new understanding and faith. All before there is any answer on God’s part.
Or, quite possibly, this new understanding and faith is God’s answer.
PRAYER:Thank you, heavenly Father, for the privilege of prayer. I want to pray better, more often, and during prayer intimately enjoy my relationship with you. And I’m glad that you want that, too! Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION:Review and reflect on the PRAY acronym. How does an understanding of relationship in prayer help you better appreciate each of the four points? Um, maybe pray to God to enlighten you as you meditate on this?!
- Praise(tell God what you appreciate about him)
- Repent(tell God about your sins, trust in his promises of forgiveness)
- Ask(go ahead, think big, or focus on a small detail, God wants to hear it all)
- Yield(talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good)