Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?


            Those who have driven in India know what a colossal challenge it is to remain safe and sane. When we are on the Indian roads, we’d hope to get home safe – physically and mentally! Although our driving skills may get us home safe, the conscious irresponsibilities of our fellow drivers may victimize us to road rage to stress and injure us mentally.

            Prayer is thus inevitable while we are on the Indian roads.

            Our need is to be safe. Because we know our need, we pray for our safety.

            God’s knowledge includes the state of our return - safe / limbless / lifeless. But when we pray, we ignore God’s knowledge. We pray earnestly, since we care for our own safety.

            Similarly, while praying for recovery from illness, we ignore God knowledge – whether God would heal or whether this sickness would prolong. Irrespective of God’s knowledge, we pray for healing.

            We ask God because we know our need. We don’t care for what God knows. Our need ignores God’s knowledge and our prayers remain active to the utmost measure.

            If you are in agreement until now, and if the question, “Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?” still rings a bell in you, could you then be a victim of unconscious disingenuousness?

            Being disingenuous is to be insincere. To be unconsciously disingenuousness is to be unconsciously insincere - a state of being ignorant of our insincerity.

            Is this question, “Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?” insincere?

            This question presupposes a one-dimensional nature of prayer – as if prayer is merely to express our needs to God. So it does partially reveal the questioner’s impoverished understanding of prayer.

            Does this question then drag us into the gloomy companionship-dungeons of ignoramuses when, in other instances, our prayer ignores God’s knowledge? Not necessarily!

            This question could be a sincere derivative of a diligent study of Matthew chapter 6.

            Within the context of prayer, Christ delivers two seemingly contradictory statements:

            #1: “…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, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            #2: Quite immediately Christ said, Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            So the questioner cannot be dumped into the dungeons of disingenuousness for asking, “Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?” This question contains a certain degree of merit given the seemingly contradictory statements highlighted above.

            In other words, the questioner may well be justified to eliminate the “expression of need” or “give me my daily bread” component of prayer.

            Are these two statements contradictory? No!

            Verse #1 reveals God’s nature – that HE knows it all. Verse #2 reveals our privilege to ask God for just about anything. As much as God knows it all, it is our birthright to ask our Heavenly Father for what we need or want.

            A few other relevant questions could be raised: What’s wrong if we don’t ask God? Won’t God give to us even if we don’t ask HIM?  

            These questions are heavily moored to God’s attributes of grace, goodness, mercy, love and justice.  A gracious, good, merciful, loving and a just God will give that which we need at HIS time, so why bother asking HIM?

            In other words, we may merely praise and thank God for HIS sustaining presence. Why bother God with requests that HE already knows and will anyway give it to us, whether we ask or not.

            Stop for a moment.

            Would God give to us even if we do not ask HIM in prayer?

            Doesn’t the Bible say that unless we ask we do not receive, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4: 2c, NIV)? The more famous counterpart of this verse is, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7: 7, NIV; cf. Matthew 21: 22; Mark 11: 24; John 15: 7).

            If the Bible says, ask and you shall receive, does it not infer that if we do not ask, we would not receive? Or would we receive whatever we ask for (cf. John 15: 7)?  

            The answer is not quite simple. Let’s examine the “asking mechanism” in prayer by observing a few verses from the Bible:

            1. Ask and you shall receive (Matthew 7: 7).

            2. If we ask and believe that we have received it, it will be ours (Mark 11: 24).

            3. If we are in Christ and if HIS Words are in us, then whatever we wish will be given to us (John 15: 7).

            4. If we ask according to the will of God, we receive (1 John 5: 14).

            5. Ask with wrong motives, we do not receive (James 4: 3).

            The most crucial aspect of “asking in prayer” is if we are in Christ and if HIS Words are in us. All the other aspects (highlighted above) are subsets of remaining in Christ.

            A. We remain in Christ only if we believe in HIM.

            B. If we are in Christ, we would ask according to HIS will.

            C. If we are in Christ, we will not ask with wrong motives.

            Therefore, the fundamental question that ought to be answered by each one of us personally is if we are in Christ and if HIS words are in us. This fundamental question supersedes the question, “Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?”    

            In order to better understand this dynamic, let us ask if God would give to us even if we do not ask HIM in prayer?

            Let’s consider our spiritual need over the material:

            Would God give us the ability to know and love HIM more than ever or anybody, if we do not ask for it?

            Would God give us the continuously abounding anointing of the Holy Spirit, if we do not ask for it?

            Would God give us the ability to serve HIM tirelessly, if we do not ask for it?

            NO, God will not offer these blessings, if we do not ask for it.

            Why?

            A Christian who does not ask for spiritual blessings is probably more focused on the material aspects of his/her life. This person has not really understood the basic tenet of a Christian life, which is a constant striving for a greater knowledge of God, to love HIM more, and to serve and glorify HIM always.  

            A Christian who does not ask for spiritual blessings could be in a budding stage (an infant Christian) or be plagued with questions about Christianity or stagnant (a lukewarm or a halfhearted Christian) in his/her relationship with Christ.

            A Christian in love with Christ would desire to know, love and serve HIM more. This Christian knows that the greater anointing of the Holy Spirit is necessary to love Christ and be of greater service to HIM. So this person will evidently desire these great spiritual blessings.

            If our minds are not in Christ, we would not desire spiritual blessings. So once again the question narrows down to whether we are in Christ or not.

            God, who offers HIS sun and rain upon those who hate HIM, will offer the necessary blessings to everyone irrespective of their status in Christ. But, I believe, HE will offer HIS spiritual blessings to only those who desire them.

            The question, “Why Pray When God Knows Our Need?” is a question that focuses on material needs than spiritual. This question will not be asked by Christ-loving Christians, for they would constantly plead for the greater spiritual blessings. When we plead for the spiritual the material will also be added unto us.

            It’s man greatest desire to live in peace. But it’s only the prince of peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, who can offer us peace to live amid trials and tribulation.

            This peace from the Lord, which the Bible describes as the peace that transcends human understanding, is only available to those who ask HIM, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 6-7, NIV, Emphasis Mine).


            May we pray continually seeking God’s blessings upon our lives. 


1 comment:

Jiji & Santhosh said...

Absolutely agree, well written - Raj !