And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
- Matthew 6:7-8
“As the father of nine, I can tell you that I sometimes know what my children need before they ask. However, what I as an earthly father only sometimes know, our eternal Father always knows. Which inevitably leads to the question: If God knows what we need before we even ask, why bother asking at all?
“First, it is crucial to recognize that supplication should not be seen as the sole sum and substance of prayers. Far from merely being a means of presenting our daily requests to God, prayer is a means of pursuing a dynamic relationship with him.
“Furthermore, God ordains not only the ends but the means. Thus, to ask, ‘Why pray if God already knows what we need?’ is akin to asking, ‘Why get dressed in the morning and go to work?’ For that matter if God is going to do what he is going to do anyway, why bother doing anything? God has ordained that he work we do and the prayers we utter both produce results. The fact that God knows the future does not imply that our futures are fatalistically determined any more than our knowledge that the sun will rise causes the sun to rise.
“Finally, while our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we even ask, our supplications are in and of themselves an acknowledgement of our dependence on him. And that alone is reason enough to pray without ceasing.”
- Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book (question 11)
Hank handled the question extremely well. In his first point, he could have added that adoration, confession, and thanksgiving are also portions of our prayers, or they should be. But in his final point, he says something that I have often added to my prayers. “God, we ask these things of You, because You are in control. You have the power to do something about our requests. And You promise to work all things for the good of those who love You. And God, You know what that good is for all involved much better than I do. So, if these requests are within your will, I lay them before you. Knowing that You are the sovereign Lord and Creator of all things.” Or something to that effect. As Hank says, we supplicate to acknowledge that God is God and that He loves us.
And the middle point is something that boggles my mind with many Christians that I talk to. These other Christians have a heart of gold and they take action in spreading the love of God to others, but they admit that their prayer life suffers far too often. But I should not be hard on them, because I often feel the same way. If I spent twelve hours each day, which I do not, on my knees praying, other than having very painful knees, I would go to bed remembering what I did not mention in my prayers. Would thirteen hours tomorrow cover it all? If those Christian friends were of the mindset that everyone could improve their prayer life, then I will have to admit that I am right there with them. And no, I have not spent that many hours in continuous prayer, but I take Jesus with me and talk to Him most of the day.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.