Pause for thought
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At least once or twice a year in my Bible Study group, someone will ask a question along the lines of “… if God is omniscient and all-powerful and loves us so much, why do we have to pray? Won’t He provide and give us waht we need without asking?”.

Good questions, and I believe the confusion arises because we are conditioned to think in an “either/or” mindset rather than “and”. More about that in a moment, but first let’s see if there is scripture to back up the assumptions being made.

First, is God omniscient?

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13 NLT So, the answer is “yes”, God is all-knowing.

Is He all-powerful?

All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’ Daniel 4:35 NLT Again, the answer is “yes”, He is all-powerful.

Is He consistent in His grace?

For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:5 NLT. Once again the answer is “yes”, His limitless love toward us goes on forever and will not fail.

What can/could our prayers do to enhance that? Shouldn’t we just sit back, relax and let God “do His thing”?

The short answer is “no” becuase Jesus tells us to pray.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 NLT

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24 NLT

“Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” Luke 22:46b NLT

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. Matthew 21:22 NLT

And, of course, it’s not just Jesus, but his disciples and the apostles who affirm the power of prayer in their writings as well. So what’s the point of prayer?

I have a rule in my personal study that when things don’t seem logical in my view of God’s plan, start with the assumption that whatever He asks of me is for my good and to show His glory. So when I am commanded to pray, it must be for my benefit!

It’s not that either God is gracious and good or He needs us to do His work for Him, it’s that He is gracious and good and powerful AND He wishes to bless us by allowing us to be part of His divine plan for this world!

By praying, we draw closer to God’s will. By praying we are strengthened in our faith. By praying we avoid the traps and sinkholes Satan would put in our paths.

God’s power and providence and prayer, far from being antithetical, are actually reciprocal. Providence inspires prayer and prayer invokes providence. Here divine sovereignty and human responsibility mysteriously converge in a way we cannot fully explain but which is nonetheless real.

By failing to pray, we may forfeit personal blessings which God would otherwise bestow. It appears that in his sovereignty God has ordained believing prayer as a necessary means for receiving many of his promises. The apostle James has an interesting take on prayer:

“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” James 4:2 NLT

God wants us to grow to be in Him and like Him and the most efficient way to accomplish that is through prayer. In typical God fashion though, the resulting blessings and benefits will be so much more than we could ever imagine!

It would be sad indeed if we missed out on a great blessing because we were too busy with our own concerns to get in touch with His. Ask and you will receive!

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at