January 1, 2014 by Chris French
If you’ve ever struggled with prayer, and let’s not kid ourselves we all have, you’ve asked yourself why you should pray because God already knows what you need anyhow. It seems like a waste of His time and mine to tell Him something He already knows (Matt. 6.8). Which would be true…if the purpose of prayer was to tell God what you need.
When Jesus teaches the 12 how to pray He includes some of their needs toward the end of the prayer, namely food, forgiveness, and spiritual strength. There’s a couple of things we can learn from this outline, not the least of which is where Jesus places His needs in His prayer. They come last. They weren’t the first things on His mind, they weren’t the most important or pressing issues He wanted to talk to God about. So we can and should bring our needs to God, but they shouldn’t be first and since He already knows what we need anyhow let’s not spend much time on our needs.
So why pray? You’re not letting Him in on new information. He’s not surprised when you tell Him you need strength to battle Satan or money to pay your light bill or wisdom/patience as you work on your marriage. “Oh, now I see! Today you need me to give you patience! Sure glad you told me, otherwise I’d been left in the dark!” (Words you won’t hear in Heaven)
You don’t pray to inform God about your needs. You pray to get on the same page as Him about your needs. Remember when Paul started telling God that he needed that thorn removed in 2 Corinthians 12? God refused to meet that need, so Paul continued praying for it until finally Paul wanted what God wanted. God wanted whatever was plaguing Paul to stay in place so that His power could shine thru Paul’s weakness. Paul didn’t want that for the longest time. Finally, after many prayers (I’m going out on a limb here and saying that the three times is probably figurative) and probably years of struggling with this issue Paul agrees with God. Now he’s going to boast in his weakness.
Tell God what you need in prayer. When/If He says, “No” or “Wait” keep on praying until you arrive at a spot where you can agree with Him that He’s right about what’s good for you.
Did Jesus do this? Why does He say a very quick prayer right before He raises Lazarus in John 11.41-42, but stay up for hours the night of His arrest in the Garden (Matt. 26.36-46)?
Did Jesus want to raise Lazarus from the dead? YES! Did the Father want to raise Lazarus from the dead? YES! They were on the same page.
God already knows what you need, but still invites you to talk to Him about them and stay with Him until you’re okay not having the situation work out the way you wanted it to. That’s just one reason prayer is so powerful. If you do it right God can change your mind.
The blogs are going to be one of the ways we dig into Scripture this year so take advantage of them. Check back tomorrow for another new post! If you want to continue this conversation comment below or you can use facebook/twitter with the #meant4more. Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!