Why pray if God knows everything?

Jesus told a parable about a widow who sought justice for her wrongs. She made her plea to a judge who cared nothing for justice. At first he would not give her a just ruling. She kept pestering him, troubling him over and over again until he finally heeded her pleas. Jesus taught this parable to show that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” In Matthew 6:8 Jesus says, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before you ask Him.” In the very next verse He taught the disciples how to pray. Why? Since God knows all things, including the needs of every person, the desires of the individual’s heart and the requests that will be made in prayer, why pray?

Christians pray because God commands it. The Bible assumes prayer will be a regular part of the believer’s life. The New Testament is filled with commands to pray. Throughout the apostle Paul’s letters God commands the church and the Christian to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 simply says, “Pray without ceasing.”

Prayer is commanded of God for His pleasure and for the benefit of the believer. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The prayer of the upright is his delight.” God has great pleasure in those who trust Him and rely on Him for their needs. “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.” (Psalm 147:11) Christians pray because it expresses their trust and hope in God which pleases Him.

Christian’s pray because it is a vital part of their spiritual preparation and readiness. The New Testament describes the praying Christian as a soldier on guard. Jesus warned Peter to “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (Mark 14:38) 1 Peter 4:7 says, “Watch unto prayer.” Christians pray because prayer prepares them for the daily spiritual battles.

Christian’s pray because God has chosen to work through the prayers of His people. God does not need people to inform Him of needs, but He ordained that He would work in this world through prayer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:17) This is not because the righteous have secret power or that the right words will force God to do what the person wants. God always does His will. He has chosen to work His will through the prayer of His people. Christians pray because God accomplishes His plan through prayer.

John Calvin said, “Believers do not pray, with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray, in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.”

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Does God know the future?

Many Christians believe God knows everything that has happened and is happening. Some have problems believing God knows ahead of time what decisions individuals will make or all the specific events of the future. How extensive is God’s knowledge? Does He know every decision a man will make? Does God know the future? The Bible is not lacking in descriptions of the extent of God’s knowledge. Psalm 147:4 describes the massiveness of God’s knowledge. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” The known universe continues trillions of trillions of stars. The incomprehensible knowledge of God knows precisely how many stars are in the universe and the name of each one. Matthew 10 says that God knows whenever a sparrow dies and “The very hairs of your head are numbered.” God knows the details of life and death for even the least significant creatures and He knows precisely how many hairs are on every one of the 7 billion people on the earth. Though the number is constantly changing, God’s limitless knowledge always knows precisely how many hairs reside on your head. His knowledge is not limited to the physical world. Psalm 139:2 says, “Though understandest my thought afar off.” God knows every detail about all the events that happen in the observable world. He knows every thought in every person’s mind. Every detail of the metaphysical is fully comprehended in God’s unlimited knowledge. His knowledge is all inclusive of every detail throughout the entire universe.

Regarding the future, the accuracy of Biblical prophecy shows that God knows at least some future events. Isaiah 46:9-10 indicates that God has full knowledge of every future event. “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.” He has described all events in history from the very beginning to the very end. The things not yet done are known of God and have been known by Him from the very beginning. God’s knowledge is complete, including all that is, all that has been and all that will be.

A great pastor and author of the last century, AW Tozer, said about the knowledge of God, “God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell. Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything, He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.”