God already knows our needs, Why pray..?

Why tell God what He already knows or ask Him to do what He already wants to do?

Thank God we don’t have to understand prayer in order to pray. Yet, there are some consistent valid questions people have concerning prayer, but these must not hinder us from relying upon it.

Why should we pray when God already knows what we want, is a question I have asked myself and being  asked. If it´s true that God already knows what we need then why did the blind Bartimaeus have to ask Jesus for help in Mark 10:46-52. It was obvious to everyone around him what his need was, the man wanted Jesus to restore his sight yet Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you.” (Mark 10:51) And when he said, “Master, let me see again,” Jesus cured him. Jesus knew everything about the people; he knew Judas was going to betray him, he knew about Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:48), he knew the woman in Samaria had five husbands before her present partner (John 4:18). Jesus knew about this blind man, he didn’t need to be told he needed his sight restored, yet he asked him what he wanted. Blind Bartimaeus didn’t need to tell Jesus but telling Jesus was preparing Bartimaeus’ heart for the gift of having his sight restored.

Once again the question I am asked is, “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” My response is that prayer is not about informing God what our needs are. God already knows our needs and does not need our prayer to keep him up to date on what is happening in our lives. Instead prayer is for our benefit, not God’s benefit. Prayer is to prepare our heart for what God wishes to give us, and prayer is giving God permission to intervene in our affairs.

What did Bartimaeus do after his sight was restored? He followed Jesus along the road. In the Gospels when we read that someone followed Jesus it meant he became a disciple of Jesus. Jesus had twelve apostles but he had many disciples. All these followers and disciples of Jesus listened to his teachings and allowed it to change their lives. So the healing of the Blind Bartimaeus was really only the beginning of his journey of following Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus and learning from Him. Bartimaeus did not just pray to have his sight restored and then disappear. Afterwards Bartimaeus’ whole way of life was such that it revolved around Jesus.

So when someone asks “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” I say that praying for what we need is only part of our relationship with God. Our whole life is to be a prayer to God because our whole life is about following Jesus, and being a disciple of Jesus. If we only pray when we are in a crisis, are we really Christians? Prayer is not a magic formula to be recited to bring about the desired results. Prayer is also supposed to be a way of living, it is following Jesus all the way.

Notice the way in which Bartimaeus made his request or prayed to Jesus. Firstly he said, “have mercy on me.” (Mark 10:47) It was only later that he asked, “let me see again.” (Mark 10:51) His first request was “have mercy on me.” Why did Bartimaeus ask Jesus to have mercy on him before restoring his sight? Bartimaeus was sufficiently in tune with himself to know that what he needed most was deeper than restoration of sight. His deepest need was for spiritual healing, a far deeper need than his need for physical healing. He asked for spiritual healing and no doubt he received it since he also received physical healing. Again the question I am asked is, “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?”

Sometimes we pray for what we want and instead God gives us what we need. What we need is not always what we want but God in his provident mercy gives us what we need. Notice what Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus was a person of faith, not a person who prayed only in a crisis to get what he wanted from God. He had a relationship with God and that faith, that relationship with God, firstly answered his deepest need, his need for salvation, a far greater need than restoration of sight. He reminds me of the teaching of Jesus in Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things will be given you as well.” Bartimaeus sought the kingdom of God first, God’s mercy and the other things like the restoration of sight was given him as well. Men always ought to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). God bless you.

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