A client asked this curious question . . .
“Why do I need to pray since God already knows what’s best for me and knows the outcome?
The short answer is because God commands us to pray. Paul, says to the church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” This is a command rather than a suggestion. Paul issues the command again in 1 Tim 2:8 – “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” So, to discontinue praying because God already knows what’s best and the outcome of each of my prayers would be disobedient to His command to pray.
Another way to look at this question would be from God’s prospective. Since God knows everything and already knows what’s best for me, and knows the outcome, why would He command you and me to pray about anything?
(Let that percolate a little . . .)
First, God is all about relationship with each and every one of us. Our relationship with Him is “faith-based.” He wants us to have faith in Him and to trust Him. Part of that faith and trust involves talking to Him in prayer. Prayer involves telling Him things, asking Him for things, thanking Him for things, praising Him for things, and yes, confessing things we have done wrong. My relationship with my wife would not grow if I never spoke to her.
In like fashion, although God knows what’s best and knows the outcome of each of my prayers, He still wants me to share them with Him as it grows my relationship with Him.
Second, David, the man after God’s own heart seemed to think that prayer might change God’s mind in certain situations. You may remember that David’s adultery with Bathsheba produced a child. God told David that as part of the ramifications of his sin with Bathsheba would be that the child would die (2 Samuel 12:14). David began fasting and praying like crazy asking God to allow the child to live. Seven days later the child died. David cleaned up and requested some food to eat. His servants were confused but David responded in 2 Sam. 12:22, “. . . While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’
You see, even though David knew God knew the outcome, he still thought that if he fasted and prayed just maybe God might allow the child to live.
Third, Hezekiah, one of the kings in the Old Testament, became sick and got the following news from God’s prophet Isaiah,
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'” 2 Kings 20:1. Here’s how Hezekiah responded, “Then he (Hezekiah) turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Return and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life.” 2 Kings 20:2-6
Get the Point . . . Hezekiah received a death sentence from God . . . but he responded by praying. Instead of death, Hezekiah got 15 more years of life . . . Good reason to pray, uh?