I do believe God knows everything. And I believe it matters that we pray, even though God already knows the prayer requests on our hearts. In fact, he even knows prayer requests that we don’t know we have!
The point of praying isn’t to change God’s mind or woo him into giving you more and more. God’s not the genie from Aladdin, just eagerly waiting to say YES! to anything you ask. That’s not what prayer is even about.
Prayer helps you see the world from God’s perspective.
We see our lives through the lens of our circumstances. But God sees your life through the lens of your heart. You want God to change your marriage. He wants to change how you view your marriage. You want God to give you more money. God wants to change how you view your money.
You’ve been asking God to give you the grass on the other side of the fence. God is trying to give you water for your side of the fence. Prayer is the spicket in which God can water your grass. God can make grass grow anywhere if you’ll turn on the water!
In Acts 4, Peter and John were freed after being arrested by the Jews simply because they were Christ followers. They didn’t do anything illegal, but since the Jews saw them as threats they arrested them anyway. After they were released, the church gathered together to praise God and offer up this one prayer request…
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. [Acts 4:29]
They prayed for what? Revenge against the Jews! Nope. Less persecution and suffering! Nope. Power to overcome the death threats! Nope.
Boldness. They prayed for great boldness. They didn’t even ask God to make things easier. They didn’t ask God to take away their suffering or smooth over their path. They didn’t ask for their lives to stop being threatened. They asked for boldness. They asked for the strength to push through when the threats came again.
Some of us need to stop praying for something and start praying through something.
You might be asking for God to change your circumstances. But God might have you exactly where he wants you. So that you can grow in your faith and learn to be more dependent on his strength. God’s not in the business of trying to make your life easier. He’s in the business of helping you persevere anything that comes your way!
Imagine if your prayer life was so strong that no circumstance could shake you? Because, even in the toughest moments of your life, you knew you could always pause talk to your spiritual father. And he could give you the strength to move forward.
When it feels impossible or exhausting, call a timeout and spend a few minutes in prayer. So you can see try to see where God is at work. So you can be reminded that you aren’t in this alone.
Hey! I’m Stephen, the pastor of Grace Church in West Bridgewater, MA where I live with my wife, Katy, and my two daughters, Hazel & Holly! I love to read, write, travel, and meet new people. Connect with me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.