“O Lord, you have examined me, and you know me.
You alone know when I sit down and when I get up.
You read my thoughts from far away.
You watch me when I travel and when I rest.
You are familiar with all my ways.
Even before there is a {single} word on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord” (Psalms 139:1-4 God’s Word).

If this is true, why pray at all, since God knows it before we ask it?

I feel like this is rarely dealt with seriously. So, God knows every thought and every word before we speak it.

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This shows why I find public prayer and prayer meetings frustrating, embarrassing, in short, a problem.

People tell God what to do. People yell at God for not doing what they ask. People quote the Bible at God! They cry out that they believe so that means God must do what they ask. And then at the end they tag on the religious formula, “In Jesus’ name we pray”.

To put it bluntly, prayer is not for us to tell God stuff. Prayer, entry into communication with Almighty God, allows us to learn the will of God. Being in the presence of Creator humbles us (there’s a revelation!) and we listen for Paraclete to guide our thoughts and lives. When we fall speechless in the presence of Creator then God, through Paraclete, covers the topic for us, and I’m sure gets it right the first time. (“At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to” (Romans 8:26-27 God’s Word).

First, we learn what the will of God is for us. Humility required.

Second, we learn what God wants us to do about it. Humble obedience required.

Third, we engage in the work God assigns to us, drawing on wisdom and strength from God. Humble gratitude required.

English: a prayer plant "praying"

A prayer plant “praying” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, stop praying to God like you have some unique and unknown thought to pass along. When God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we demand, why blame God? When we get it right and the prayer answer looks like what we asked for, why do people brag about how God listened to them? Surely the truth comes from the fact that either we listened to God (!) or God couldn’t wait for us to get it right and acted in divine timing and it simply made us look good.

“All of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble. Be humbled by God’s power so that when the right time comes he will honor you” (1 Peter 5:5b-6 God’s Word).